Angel Reese making strong case for WNBA Rookie of the Year

INDIANAPOLIS — Regarding where forward Angel Reese stands in the WNBA Rookie of the Year conversation a month into the season, Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon had one word.

‘‘Top,’’ Weatherspoon said before the Sky’s 91-83 loss Sunday to the Fever.

At this point, Weatherspoon isn’t wrong.

Reese, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, leads all rookies in rebounds, steals and double-doubles. She had her sixth consecutive double-double and seventh overall Sunday.

She is second in points behind Fever guard Caitlin Clark, and they have similar field-goal percentages.

‘‘I always explain myself,’’ Weatherspoon said. ‘‘I don’t say it just to say it because I’m coaching her. You have to sustain this type of play, and not only will I speak about it, but the world [will].’’

Weatherspoon credits Reese’s confidence for her successful transition from college to the pros.

‘‘She’s willing to put in the work to perform well at this level,’’ Weatherspoon said. ‘‘She’s played against incredible post players already at the beginning of the season, which have been incredible learning lessons. She’s been able to learn how to defend those players and how to be effective offensively.’’

Last week, Reese shot 50% from the field against the Dream and 80% against the Sun. Those teams have two of the strongest frontcourts in the league.

At this point, Reese said she’s not paying attention to the Rookie of the Year chatter. The oddsmakers have her with the second-best odds of taking home the award — behind Clark.

Since 1998, when the award was established, only six players drafted outside the top four picks have won the award.

Between 2019 and 2021, however, three players outside the top five picks won it: Napheesa Collier (sixth), Crystal Dangerfield (16th) and Michaela Onyenwere (sixth).

‘‘Coming into the league, I just wanted to be the best Angel I could be,’’ Reese said. ‘‘Not really put any personal accolades on myself. I wanted to come in and bring a championship, help bring championships to Chicago. That’s always going to be my goal. I don’t care about individual accolades.’’

U.S. Olympic trials

The U.S. Olympic swimming trials are taking place blocks from Gainbridge Fieldhouse at Lucas Oil Stadium. Two Olympic-sized pools were built on top of the football field for the event.

The competition prompted some Olympic reflection from Weatherspoon, who won gold and bronze medals in 1988 and 1992, respectively.

‘‘A lot of memories,’’ Weatherspoon said, ‘‘especially training to try and be part of the Olympic team. The grind, the challenge of it all, especially to be part of the 12, which is probably the hardest thing you’re going to do in women’s basketball. But it’s fun. It’s the most enjoyable thing to ever go through because of the uniform you wear.’’

This and that

After their victory Sunday, the Fever have a 40-28 all-time regular-season record against the Sky.

• Fever coach Christie Sides spent the first six years of her career as an assistant with the Sky.

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