Caitlin Clark pushes back against idea of rivalry vs. Angel Reese, Chicago Sky

Caitlin Clark and the Fever will square off against the Chicago Sky for the third time this season come Sunday at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN. The Fever’s most recent contest against the Sky on June 16 was the most-watched WNBA game in 23 years with an average of 2.25 million viewers. It peaked with nearly three million viewers.

Of course, there’s some history between these two squads. Clark and Sky forward Angel Reese met in the women’s NCAA Tournament national championship game two years ago. Reese and LSU won that national championship game over Clark and Iowa, 102-85.

Then, this past spring, Iowa and Clark exacted some revenge, topping Reese and LSU, 94-87, in the Elite Eight to advance back to the Final Four and an eventual second straight national championship game berth.

Their teams’ first two matchups in the WNBA have been filled with drama, too. In the first meeting on June 1, Clark and the Fever won a thriller, 71-70. Sky guard Chennedy Carter’s away-from-the-play foul on Clark at the end of the third quarter garnered a lot of the postgame attention, though.

Carter’s foul was upgraded to a Flagrant 1 the next day upon a league review. It sparked quite the debate among sports fans on whether or not it crossed the line from physical basketball to something more than that.

Clark and the Fever also topped the Sky in their second meeting of the season as Clark scored 23 points and knocked down three 3-pointers in the win. She added nine assists and eight rebounds in the victory as well.

But, Reese’s Flagrant 1 foul on Clark again garnered some of the postgame attention. It only added fuel to the fire for those that believe there’s a legitimate rivalry between Clark and Reese.

After the Indiana Fever toppled the Atlanta Dream on Friday night 91-79, Caitlin Clark was asked about her team’s upcoming marquee matchup on Sunday afternoon.

Clark poured a cool drink of water on the idea that it’s some big rivalry, though.

“I mean, I think we’re just taking it one game at a time and I think that’s why we’ve been able to be successful in this stretch is because we haven’t looked too far ahead. It’s the game that’s just always right in front of us.

“I’m pretty sure the only people that have viewed this as a rivalry is all of you. For us, it’s just a game of basketball. That’s what it is, and, if it’s going to help move the game forward, absolutely. That’s amazing. That’s what it should be. People can talk about it,” Clark said.

While Clark isn’t pumping this up as the WNBA’s next great rivalry, she is well aware of the draw that she, the Fever and Reese and the Sky are for women’s basketball fans.

“I saw the ticket prices. I guess the only thing is I’m surprised we’re not playing at the United Center. I thought that would have been really good for the game and really good for all the women’s basketball fans in Chicago. Maybe there’s a conflict of some sort that I don’t know about. Obviously, that’s a little above my pay grade, but we’re excited.

“One game at a time. You’ve kind of got to wipe this and learn from it. We travel tonight and get there and practice and it’s a prep and then you’re playing the next day at 4 p.m. Like I said, if that’s what’s going to help the game move forward, absolutely. I think the two prior matchups have really lived up to what everybody expected and just really great basketball games honestly,” Clark said.

In the Fever’s 91-79 win over the Atlanta Dream on Friday, Clark finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. The 6-foot rookie guard added seven assists, four rebounds and a block.