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Indiana Fever vs. Chicago Sky averages 1.5 million viewers in first Caitlin Clark-Angel Reese WNBA matchup

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz06/04/24


For the first time as WNBA players, Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese squared off against one another. Instead of wearing Iowa and LSU jerseys, though, they were playing for the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky in a highly anticipated matchup.

It also became another big viewership day for the W and ESPN as it was the fourth-largest WNBA audience in the past 22 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

Saturday’s game averaged over 1.5 million viewers. It’s yet another big showing for the WNBA, which has seen a ratings increase this season as Clark, Reese and the rest of a highly anticipated rookie class arrived in the league.

It was a back-and-forth affair, but Indiana ended up coming out on top with the 71-70 victory – securing its first win at Gainbridge Field house this season. The Fever improved to 2-8 on the year while the Sky dropped to 3-4 despite another big day from Reese and the debut of Kamilla Cardoso.

ESPN wasn’t originally supposed to air the game, though. NBA TV was, and last month, the league opted to flex it to ESPN with the Noon ET time slot on Saturday. It lived up to the billing as the two teams kept it close and it came down to the final seconds.

Chicago had an opportunity to tie it with six seconds to go, but Marina Mabrey missed the first free throw. When Indiana got the ball back, the Fever ran out the clock on the win to finally break through at home this season.

Clark finished the day with 11 points to go with eight rebounds and eight assists, while Reese had eight points and 13 rebounds. The former LSU star also set a Sky rookie record with eight offensive rebounds in the effort. But the biggest topic of conversation after the game became a hard foul by Chennedy Carter on Clark, and the postgame comments that followed.

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese rivalry continues

The rivalry between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese went to new heights this past season. It started in 2023 during the national championship game, which saw Reese’s LSU Tigers defeat Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes. The two players became the topic of conversation for their competitive playing styles, and some wondered when a rematch could happen.

That came in the 2024 Elite Eight, and Clark came out on top that time as Iowa got the 94-87 victory. She dropped 41 points in that game along with 12 assists to reach the Final Four, while Reese battled through injury as she totaled 17 points and 20 rebounds.

ESPN also drew a record audience that day as 12.3 million people tuned in. At the time, it set a record. However, that would later fall in Iowa’s last two tournament games, although the table was set for when Clark and Reese played in the WNBA.

Now, ESPN is once again the beneficiary, and CBS will get the next installation of Sky vs. Fever on June 16.