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05/23/24 04:20:00

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05/23 16:18 CDT Angel Reese is excelling on and off the court in her WNBA rookie season with the Chicago Sky Angel Reese is excelling on and off the court in her WNBA rookie season with the Chicago Sky By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer NEW YORK (AP) --- Angel Reese is proud to be part of the stellar rookie class that is uplifting the WNBA. She is just somewhat disappointed that people don't pay attention to all the members of that first-year group. The Chicago Sky rookie said the perception that it's only Indiana's Caitlin Clark that's raising the profile of the league is misleading. "It's not just one person, I think people don't realize that (because) the narrative out there is that just one person changing the game," Reese said Thursday. "It's a lot of us --- me, Kamilla (Cardoso ), there's Cameron (Brink), Rickea (Jackson). There's so many great players and it's been long overdue and just being able to see that our impact has been able to change the game. "I love it for us all and we're just going to continue to keep going." The league has had tremendous growth in attendance, TV ratings and merchandise sold already. Reese is off to a good start to her professional career on the court, averaging 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in four games with the Sky (2-2). She also has found time to participate in various endeavors off the court, including attending the Met Gala and a Megan Thee Stallion concert. She brought her Sky teammates on stage during the concert. "She has a tremendous why behind what she does and she brings along everybody with her," Chicago Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon said. "She doesn't go by herself in an instant in this life. ... If you have, make sure the next one has." Weatherspoon embraces that Reese has many sides to her. "She's a champion. She's a winner. So she wants to go win. She's a competitor," Weatherspoon said. "When she steps out on the other side, she's earned what's on the outside." Reese also has become a team owner, buying into a professional women's soccer team, DC Power FC. "Obviously I love sports, not just basketball," Reese said. "That's going to just be a part of me and I'm going to continue to help build women's sports. That is important to me." Reese and the Sky are visiting New York on Thursday night, which is a homecoming for Weatherspoon. The Sky coach starred for the Liberty when the WNBA launched its first season in 1997. She helped the team reach the WNBA Finals in three of the league's first four years. She also spent time as the team's first director of player and franchise development from 2015 to 2019. She knows it will be emotional when she coaches her first game against her former team. "This is where I played, blood sweat and tears," Weatherspoon said. "I just tried to play a game in front of an amazing crowd that gave us everything they had." Thursday night's game isn't Reese's first time playing in New York. When she was a freshman in high school, she played in a showcase game at Christ the King against fellow rookie teammate Cardoso. Reese recalled hitting a shot to send the game into overtime and that it was the first time she had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. The 6-foot-3 former LSU standout from Baltimore said she'll have a lot of friends and family in attendance against New York. Another 20-20 performance in New York would certainly send her supporters home happy. ___ AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball
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