Rookies Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese make debut at WNBA All-Star

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese all-stars

MANILA, Philippines — The WNBA All-Star Game later this month is poised to be a showcase of the league’s crème de la crème, with rival rookies Caitlyn Clark and Angel Reese headlining the event as they don the same uniform for the first time.

The game, set for July 20 at Phoenix’s Footprint Center, will feature a unique format pitting the WNBA All-Stars, selected via fan, player, media and coach voting, against the vet-led USA Women’s Basketball Team ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Clark, the collegiate superstar from Iowa who was No. 1 overall pick of the Indiana Fever in April, has taken the league by storm in her first outing. The guard’s logo 3-pointers and advanced playmaking brought along a surge of new fans, filling up arenas across the US in record numbers. She leads all rookies in scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (6.9 apg).

The equally impressive Reese, who plays with dominance as a forward for the Chicago Sky, is topping the league in rebounds (11.5 rpg). She has also notched 11 consective double-doubles — a record for a WNBA rookie.

Reese and Clark’s college rivalry, which began with heated matchups in the Big Ten and culminated in an epic NCAA championship showdown in 2023, has been a factor fueling the WNBA’s leap in popularity this season. The two are the only rookies on Team WNBA this year.

The All-Star festivities will serve as a send-off for the WNBA players selected to represent Team USA in Paris. Phoenix Mercury stars Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner will lead the Olympic squad against the All-Stars in their home arena.

Taurasi, a future hall-of-famer, is chasing an unprecented sixth Olympic gold medal, while Griner, who scored 30 points in USA’s gold medal game against Japan in 2020, aims to earn her fourth.

The selection process for the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game involved a combination of fan votes (50%), current WNBA players (25%), and a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters (25%). The top 10 vote-getters who were not already named to the USA Basketball Women’s National Team 5-on-5 roster were automatically assigned to Team WNBA.

Finishing first and second respectively, Clark garnered a staggering 700,735 fan votes and Indiana teammate Aliyah Boston earned 618,680 votes to secure their All-Star slots. Reese was fifth in votes.

The remaining spots on the 12-player Team WNBA roster were determined by the votes of the 12 WNBA head coaches.

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