Monday, June 17, 2024

Angel Reese debuts custom shoes for first WNBA matchup with Caitlin Clark

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Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark helped bring an unprecedented amount of attention to women’s college basketball. 

Clark was the first player selected in the 2024 WNBA Draft, while the Chicago Sky used the seventh overall pick on Reese. The excitement surrounding the two star players has carried over from college to the professional ranks, and Saturday will mark the first time Reese and Clark square off in the WNBA.

Reese is bringing some special sneakers with her for the highly anticipated matchup. The Sky forward will be sporting a custom pair of pink “Barbie” edition shoes during Saturday’s game.

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Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese at the WNBA Draft held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024, in New Yor. (Cora Veltman/Sportico via Getty Images)

The shoes are a nod to Reese’s nickname, “Bayou Barbie,” which grew in popularity during her time at LSU.

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Shortly after she was drafted by the Sky, she said she would also go by “Chi Barbie.”

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Reese and Clark went head-to-head in the 2023 NCAA Division I women’s basketball national championship game. Reese and LSU defeated Clark and Iowa in the matchup, but the Hawkeyes came out on top in early April during the Elite Eight.  

Reese pointing to her ring finger in the final moments of the 2023 national title game became the lasting image. Since that moment, the perceived rivalry between Reese and Clark has been widely discussed.

Angel Reese points

April 2, 2023, Dallas, Texas. LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese (10) gestures to Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) after the game during the final round of the Women’s Final Four NCAA tournament at the American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Both players have stated that they have respect for each other’s game and that the rivalry is not bitter or personal.

“Me and Caitlin Clark don’t hate each other,” Reese said in April during the NCAA tournament. “I want everybody to understand that. It’s just a super-competitive game. Once I get between those lines, there’s no friends. I have plenty of friends on the court that I talk to outside of the game, but like when I get between those lines, we’re not friends. We’re not buddies. I’m going to talk trash to you. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get in your head the whole entire game, but after the game we can kick it.”

Caitlin Clark shoots a free throw

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, shoots a free throw during the game against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 28, 2024, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (A.J. Mast/NBAE via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Clark complemented Reese for her competitive spirit, saying, “Me and Angel have always been great competitors.”

Clark added that the great talent and competition have helped elevate women’s basketball.

“The biggest thing is women’s basketball is in a really great place,” Clark said in March.

Reese is averaging 11 points and 8.2 rebounds over her first six WNBA games. She said she is having fun as she continues to work her way through the transition from college to the pros.

“It’s been great,” Reese told ESPN. “Just being able to affect the game in different ways, understanding the transition and just giving myself grace and being patient with everything. I’ve been able to have fun out there and grow every game.”

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Clark is averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game, but she scored a career-best 30 points on May 28 in a loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Tipoff for the nationally televised game is set for 12 p.m. ET.

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