WNBA

WNBA rookie progress report: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese have had a special week

WNBA rookie progress report: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese have had a special week

It’s been quite the week for WNBA rookies. Two earned All-Star bids and one was named to her country’s Olympic roster. Meanwhile, the league announced a new docuseries that will follow members of this rookie class as they navigate their first year as professionals.

Here’s how things look for the league’s youngest stars:

The No. 1 draft pick capped off her first two month’s of WNBA play with an All-Star bid. The Indiana guard earned the most votes out of any player with 700,735.

Clark and the Fever are also hitting their stride after a difficult start to the season. The Fever played a brutal schedule that included 11 games in a 20-day stretch. They started their slate with five straight losses, but are now 8-13. Clark leads her team in both assists (7.1) and steals (1.3), while also averaging 16 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. She’s also third in assists per game behind leader Alyssa Thomas (7.5) and Natasha Cloud (7.4). The rookie enjoyed one of her best games of the season in an 88-82 win over Phoenix on Sunday, when, despite only shooting 28.6% from the field, Clark nearly recorded a triple-double. She finished with 15 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds.

Clark’s biggest issue so far is turnovers, as the rookie also leads the league in that category with 5.6 per game. Thomas is next on the list with 3.9 per game.

(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports illustration)

Chicago’s Reese was the only other rookie to earn All-Star honors with 381,518 votes. Her spot in the All-Star Game comes in the midst of an 11-game double-double streak, which is a WNBA single-season record. The previous record was nine, held by Candace Parker in 2015. And Parker isn’t the only WNBA star that Reese’s name has been mentioned with lately. In an 88-87 win over Indiana on June 23, the Rookie of the Month for June finished with a career-high 25 points and 16 rebounds. She is just the second rookie since A’ja Wilson to record at least 25 points and 15 rebounds in a game.

Thanks to her double-double streak, Reese also leads the league in rebounds per game (11.8) and offensive rebounds per game (4.8).

Reese’s weakness continues to be her efficiency around the rim, as the LSU graduate is only making 39.7% of her shots. That number has gone up, however, in the last month. At the start of June, Reese was shooting 35.4% from the field.

It’s been a rocky season for the Mystics, starting 0-12 and then winning five out of their last eight, but Edwards has been a bright spot. She plays more like a veteran than a rookie, and part of that is because of her experience in international play. The Canadian played in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and is getting ready to make her second Olympic appearance, as Canada takes part in the Paris Games. Edwards is the only traditional rookie to be named to a national team.

Edwards is averaging 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1 block per game, while shooting 48.3% from the field. In a June 14 win over Chicago, Edwards showed her maturity with an efficient effort, shooting 85.7% for 16 points in a 9-rebound, 3-block, 2-assist, 1-steal performance.

With a 4-15 record, the Sparks are the second-worst team in the league, ahead of the 4-16 Dallas Wings. L.A. has endured injuries to players like rookie Cameron Brink, who tore her ACL, and Lexie Brown, who is out indefinitely due to her ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease. But despite the challenges, Jackson continues to develop. She’s used to uncertainty after a college career that included four different coaches and two different teams, and that adaptability is serving Jackson well. The forward is averaging 10.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.8% from the field, and 34.2% from beyond the arc.

L.A. is on an eight-game losing streak, but Jackson has played well in the losses. She’s scored in double digits five times and finished with a double-double in an 81-76 loss to Minnesota on June 14. In her last outing, an 82-80 loss to Washington, Jackson had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

Off the court, things have been picking up for Jackson as well. The Tennessee grad is one of four players that will be featured in a docuseries titled “Year 1” that will follow her, Reese, Nika Mühl and Kamilla Cardoso as they navigate their rookie campaigns. Cardoso is also enjoying a successful rookie season, averaging 8.3 points and 7.8 rebounds for the 7-11 Sky, while Mühl has played limited minutes with the Storm.

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