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Reese, Clark deliver with stars on hand for latest matchup between Sky, Fever

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Reese, Clark deliver with stars on hand for latest matchup between Sky, Fever
Sport

Sport

Reese, Clark deliver with stars on hand for latest matchup between Sky, Fever

2024-06-24 08:29 Last Updated At:08:40

CHICAGO (AP) — Angel Reese had just pulled off the best performance of her young career to help the Chicago Sky rally past the Indiana Fever and old college rival Caitlin Clark on Sunday.

There was one more thing to do before leaving the court. She shared an embrace with Naismith Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes, a big supporter of hers and one of several celebrities in a sellout crowd.

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Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese answers questions before a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Angel Reese had just pulled off the best performance of her young career to help the Chicago Sky rally past the Indiana Fever and old college rival Caitlin Clark on Sunday.

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and center Kamilla Cardoso (10) celebrate a foul on the Indiana Fever during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and center Kamilla Cardoso (10) celebrate a foul on the Indiana Fever during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and guard Marina Mabrey (4) battle Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston (7) and forward NaLyssa Smith (1) for a rebound during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and guard Marina Mabrey (4) battle Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston (7) and forward NaLyssa Smith (1) for a rebound during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Isabelle Harrison (20) guards Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Isabelle Harrison (20) guards Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) is interviewed by Holly Rowe after the Sky defeated the Indiana Fever, 88-87, in a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) is interviewed by Holly Rowe after the Sky defeated the Indiana Fever, 88-87, in a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

“She talked to me before I even entered my name into the draft, and she told me she believed in me,” Reese said. “Being able to have that person in my corner is something I've always needed. She understands me, she knows what I've been through, what I'm going through.”

A game featuring some of the WNBA's brightest young stars delivered in a huge way on a national stage.

Reese had her best outing, scoring a career-high 25 points to go with 16 rebounds to help the Sky rally from 15 down to beat the Fever 88-87. She extended her WNBA rookie record streak of double-doubles to eight games.

She is the first rookie since A’ja Wilson with 25-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in a single game, and she and Wilson are the only players in the league this season to have multiple games with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Clark, meanwhile, finished with 17 points and a franchise-record 13 assists. She made five 3s and grabbed six rebounds, but the Fever couldn't hang on after winning their previous four games.

It was 84-all when Reese scored in the post to put Chicago on top for good with just under a minute remaining following a timeout, drawing a big roar from the crowd.

“I think people are just really excited to see this matchup and anticipate it,” Clark said. “Obviously, it’s two WNBA teams right in the Midwest, where I grew up. I think people in this area are just really excited about this matchup. You could just feel it driving up in the bus.”

Clark saw lines of fans — many wearing her Iowa or Indiana jerseys — outside the arena hours before tipoff.

Courtside seats were going for $5,000 on Ticketmaster an hour before tipoff, and Chicago native Chance The Rapper, comedian Jason Sudeikis and New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson were all part of the sellout crowd. Swoopes got a standing ovation prior to the fourth quarter.

The first month of the season saw the WNBA draw its highest attendance since the league’s second season in 1998. Some games have been moved to bigger arenas to accommodate the increased demand. Ratings across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ION and NBA TV were at an all-time high, averaging 1.32 million viewers and nearly tripling last season’s average of 462,000.

“I love it,” Reese said. “I love it for women’s sports because they haven’t sold out crowds in a long time. Being able to do this and being able to be here in this moment, continue to grow women’s basketball is most import to me.”

Clark and Reese met in the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, with LSU beating Iowa in the championship game and the Hawkeyes getting payback in the Elite Eight this year. Their first two games as pros were marked by a different kind of drama than the one that unfolded on Sunday.

There was the hip check by guard Chennedy Carter on Clark away from the ball on an inbound play during Indiana's 71-70 win on June 1. Clark got knocked to the floor. Carter was called for a foul that resulted in one free throw, and the league later upgraded it to a flagrant-1.

Carter wound up on the ground again just over two weeks later, this time courtesy of Reese. Her right arm struck Clark's head on a drive to the basket, immediately resulting in a flagrant-1. Both players brushed it off afterward as a basketball play, though Reese also bemoaned “calls that weren't made” and said "I guess some people get a special whistle.”

Sunday's game might have provided a glimpse of what's to come for the WNBA, with the celebrities out and the young stars performing at a high level. And it wasn't just Reese and Clark. Chicago's Kamilla Cardoso, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“Both teams tonight did an amazing job putting on a show,” Reese said.

AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese answers questions before a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese answers questions before a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and center Kamilla Cardoso (10) celebrate a foul on the Indiana Fever during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and center Kamilla Cardoso (10) celebrate a foul on the Indiana Fever during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and guard Marina Mabrey (4) battle Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston (7) and forward NaLyssa Smith (1) for a rebound during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) and guard Marina Mabrey (4) battle Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston (7) and forward NaLyssa Smith (1) for a rebound during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Isabelle Harrison (20) guards Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Isabelle Harrison (20) guards Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) during a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) is interviewed by Holly Rowe after the Sky defeated the Indiana Fever, 88-87, in a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) is interviewed by Holly Rowe after the Sky defeated the Indiana Fever, 88-87, in a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Spain won the European Championship for a record fourth time after beating England in the final for a seventh straight win in the tournament.

And after impressing throughout Euro 2024, Spaniards dominate the combined team of the tournament chosen by writers covering the competition for The Associated Press.

DIOGO COSTA (Portugal)

Costa's three saves in the penalty shootout win over Slovenia in the round of 16 was the standout moment for a goalkeeper in a tournament where many shone, including Georgia's Giorgi Mamardashvili, who was excellent against Portugal in the group stage and had 29 saves in his four games, and Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was the shining light in an otherwise woeful title defense by Italy.

DANI CARVAJAL (Spain)

What a season for the right back. An unlikely scorer for Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final when he won the competition for a sixth time, Carvajal then became a European Championship winner with Spain. An aggressive, in-your-face defender, he even got on the scoresheet again at Euro 2024 — for his first international goal — against Croatia in the group stage. He missed the semifinals because of a red card against Germany in the quarterfinals.

MARC CUCURELLA (Spain)

Few could have seen the big-haired Cucurella having such an impact for Spain at Euro 2024 when he was out of the team at Chelsea for much of last season and receiving criticism from fans. He found some form for Chelsea as an inverted full back late in the season and brought that to the Euros, with his big moment coming when he provided the assist for the title-winning goal by Mikel Oyarzabal. Cucurella appears to be a hated figure in Germany now after his handball that wasn't awarded against the host nation in the quarterfinals, earning him jeers from Germans in the crowd in the semifinals and final.

WILLIAM SALIBA (France)

Saliba wasn't sure of his place in the France team heading into the tournament. He is now after a string of mighty displays, including completely dominating Cristiano Ronaldo in the quarterfinals. Great in the air, composed on the ball and a strong reader of the game, Saliba could lay claim to being the world's best center back after a commanding season for Arsenal, too.

ANTONIO RUDIGER (Germany)

The last memory of Rudiger at Euro 2024 was him looking helpless as a cross drifted over his head toward Spain's Mikel Merino, who planted a header into the corner to eliminate Germany in the quarterfinals. Other than that, Rudiger was immense again — just like he often is for Real Madrid in big games — with his tough-tackling, no-nonsense approach.

RODRI (Spain)

Named UEFA’s player of the tournament, Rodri set the stage for the young wingers in front of him to shine. The Manchester City midfielder gave Spain the structure that made its free-flowing attacking play work, even if he went off injured at halftime in the final. He also scored against Georgia in the round of 16 to steady a Spain team which briefly seemed in shock after conceding the opening goal.

TONI KROOS (Germany)

The Real Madrid great signed off in style in his final tournament before retiring from soccer. Kroos returned to the Germany team this year after three years away and seemed to give an out-of-form squad much-needed confidence as a calm, authoritative presence in midfield, but the journey ended in defeat to Spain in the quarterfinals. Injuring Spain’s Pedri cast a shadow over Kroos’ exit, though.

JAMAL MUSIALA (Germany)

A creative spark for the host nation, Musiala led Germany with three goals that showed off his deft footwork, pace and game awareness. It was a standout tournament for 21-year-old attacking midfielders, with Musiala’s teammate Florian Wirtz and the Netherlands’ Xavi Simons both among the most impressive players at Euro 2024.

LAMINE YAMAL (Spain)

A star is born. Much was made of Yamal’s age, but it still seemed easy to forget that such a confident, technically skilled player was just 16 for most of the tournament. Yamal turned 17 the day before the final and celebrated by setting up Nico Williams for Spain’s opening goal, his fourth assist of the tournament. A spectacular goal against France in the semifinals was his biggest highlight.

NICO WILLIAMS (Spain)

The other half of Spain’s dazzling pair of wingers, and a comparative veteran at the age of 22, Williams tormented right backs all tournament with his pace and trickery — particularly Italy's Giovanni Di Lorenzo in the group stage — and his well-taken goal against England in the final underlined his contribution.

GEORGES MIKAUTADZE (Georgia)

In a tournament where traditional center forwards like Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski and Romelu Lukaku struggled, Mikautadze introduced himself to a wider audience with three goals — the joint-most at Euro 2024 — despite playing only four games. Mikautadze combined especially well with winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia as Georgia shocked Portugal 2-0 for what was by far its biggest-ever soccer moment as an independent nation.

COACH: LUIS DE LA FUENTE (Spain)

De la Fuente might have just overseen one of the best campaigns by a country at any major tournament. Spain beat four former world champions — Italy, Germany, France and England — on route to the title after tweaking its style of play under De la Fuente to dovetail its traditional composure in possession with more directness up front. He is a trusted disciple of the Spanish federation who has nurtured many of his players through the country’s youth teams all the way to the senior set-up, and says he wants to stay to lead Spain to the World Cup.

AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Portugal's goalkeeper Diogo Costa applauds the fans after losing a quarter final match between Portugal and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, July 5, 2024. France won a penalty shoot out 4-3 after the match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Portugal's goalkeeper Diogo Costa applauds the fans after losing a quarter final match between Portugal and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, July 5, 2024. France won a penalty shoot out 4-3 after the match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Spain's Marc Cucurella celebrates after winning the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Spain's Marc Cucurella celebrates after winning the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

William Saliba of France celebrates after winning a quarter final match between Portugal and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, July 5, 2024. France won a penalty shoot out 4-3 after the match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

William Saliba of France celebrates after winning a quarter final match between Portugal and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, July 5, 2024. France won a penalty shoot out 4-3 after the match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Germany's Toni Kroos clap hands as he acknowledges supporters at the end of a quarter final match between Germany and Spain at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Germany's Toni Kroos clap hands as he acknowledges supporters at the end of a quarter final match between Germany and Spain at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Spain's Rodri kisses his Best Player of the tournament trophy after the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. Spain won 2-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spain's Rodri kisses his Best Player of the tournament trophy after the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. Spain won 2-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spain's Nico Williams, right, celebrates with his teammate Lamine Yamal after scoring his side's opening goal during the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Spain's Nico Williams, right, celebrates with his teammate Lamine Yamal after scoring his side's opening goal during the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

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