Angel Reese’s seamless transition to the WNBA could lead to an All-Star bid

In a stacked WNBA rookie class, forward Angel Reese, drafted seventh overall by the Sky, stands alone.

She finished with her fourth consecutive double-double in an 83-75 loss to the Sun on Wednesday night, including 10 rebounds that made her the only rookie so far this season to eclipse 100 points and 100 rebounds.

“She was active offensively,” coach Teresa Weatherspoon said of Reese’s 8-for-10 shooting from the field. “Did a great job of crashing the boards, as always, and she’s getting accustomed to playing against very physical basketball players.”

Reese has arguably made the most seamless transition from college to the WNBA this year. The biggest area of concern has been her offensive efficiency. In her first nine games, she shot 33% from the field. But she had her two most efficient outings against the Dream last Saturday and the Sun on Wednesday, shooting an average of 65% from the field against two of the league’s most formidable frontcourts.

“I heard a lot of people saying her game wasn’t going to translate [in the WNBA],” Sky center Kamilla Cardoso said. “She’s doing it, and doing such a great job. I’m super proud of her.”

Reese and Cardoso were drafted into a situation that already was going to allow them to have an immediate impact. However, when veteran center Elizabeth Williams went down with a torn right meniscus, it amplified their already sizeable roles.

“Everybody has to fill in what Elizabeth brought to this team,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s not going to take one person. We’re not going to put that responsibility on one person.”

Wednesday was Cardoso’s first game without a minutes restriction after returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for the first six games. She finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks against the Dream.

Voting for this year’s All-Star Game, to be held between Team WNBA and Team USA, began Thursday and will be determined again by voting by fans (50%), players (25%) and the media (25%), with the top 10 vote-getters after the initial voting period to be named All-Stars, and any not already on Team USA to be automatically placed on Team WNBA. Hopes are high for Reese, who’s currently second among rookies in points scored, with 136 after 11 games. Fever guard Caitlin Clark is first with 212 points after 13 games.

Reese also leads the WNBA in offensive rebounds with 4.7 per game and is fifth in total rebounds per game, averaging 9.6.

“She knows when the ball goes up — she’s already positioning herself to get an offen-sive rebound,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s huge for us, getting those second-chance opportunities that she gets for us. But it’s her ability, when the ball goes up, to get herself in position to have an opportunity.”

Reese has excelled on the defensive end as well early in the season. As of Thursday, she was tied with two-time MVP Breanna Stewart of the Liberty and the Aces’ A’ja Wilson for fourth in the WNBA with 1.9 steals per game. She has 12 steals in the Sky’s last three games.

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