Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese Rematch Sets New High For WNBA

Chicago Sky v Indiana Fever

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The rematch between Caitlin Clark's Indiana Fever and Angel Reese's Chicago Sky was the highest-rated WNBA game in 23 years.

Sunday's (June 16) Sky-Fever game averaged a 1.3 rating and 2.25 million viewers, according to CBS, surpassing Clark's WNBA debut on ESPN2 Opening Night as the league's most-watched game since the 2001 Memorial Day matchup between the Los Angeles Sparks and Houston Comets, which totaled 2.44 million viewers. Ratings and viewership tripled the Phoenix Mercury-New York Liberty matchup that aired in the same window on CBS one year prior, which averaged 0.44 and 694,000 viewers.

Clark and the Fever have accounted for all of the five most-watched WNBA games since 2002, which includes two matchups against the Sky and Reese, her longtime rival dating back to their collegiate careers at Iowa and LSU, respectively.

Reese was called for a flagrant-1 during a hard foul on Clark during the Fever's 91-82 win in Indianapolis on Sunday. Clark was driving to the basket with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter when she was struck in the head by Reese who was attempting to block the shot.

“Just a part of basketball," Clark told reporters after the game via the Indianapolis Star. "It is what it is. Trying to make a play on the ball, get the block. It happens.”

Officials reviewed the play before upgrading it to a flagrant 1, with Clark making both ensuing free throws. A flagrant-1 foul is ruled on plays WNBA officials interpreted as "unnecessary," while a flagrant-2 is ruled on plays considered unnecessary and "excessive," according to the league's official rule book via ESPN.

Reese's teammate, Chennedy Carter, previously hip-checked Clark prior to an inbound pass during the Fever's 71-70 win on June 1, which was also later upgraded to a flagrant-1 violation upon review the following day.

"I wasn't expecting it," Clark said after the game via Yahoo Sports. "It is what it is. It's a physical game. Go make the free throw and execute on offense, and I feel like that's kind of what we did."

Clark, the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer in NCAA basketball history, has been at the center of heated debates over how she's been treated by other WNBA players, specifically veterans, amid her popularity.

This story is brought to you by the Women's Sports Audio Network (WSAN). WSAN is the first-ever audio platform dedicated exclusively to women's sports. WSAN celebrates female athletes and gives an in-depth look into their personal experiences in and out of their respective sports. Check out more on the WSAN site.

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