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Angel Reese defends hitting Caitlin Clark in head, resulting in flagrant foul: 'It's a basketball play'

Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese defended the play she made on fellow rookie Caitlin Clark, which resulted in a flagrant foul during their anticipated rematch.

The Chicago Sky-Indiana Fever rematch was a highly anticipated game Sunday afternoon with Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese pitted against each other in another chapter of their WNBA journey. 

And things got a bit testy when Reese whacked Clark in the head on a block attempt in the third quarter of the Fever's 91-83 victory, resulting in a flagrant foul.

Reese was asked about the flagrant foul by a reporter after the game, and she cut him off quickly.

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"A basketball play. It was a basketball play," Reese said. "I can't control the refs. They affected the game obviously a lot tonight."

Reese was adamant officials were not calling the same game on both ends of the floor. The Sky were called for 21 personal fouls as a team, while the Fever were whistled for 17. Reese and fellow rookie Kamilla Cardoso each had five fouls. 

VIEW THE REESE BLOCK ATTEMPT ON X

"I think we went up really strong a lot of times, and we didn’t get a lot of calls," Reese explained when asked about her and Cardoso's performances. "Going back and looking at the film, I’ve seen a lot of calls that weren’t made. I guess some people got a special whistle. But just being able to play hard as best as we can."

CAITLIN CLARK UNBOTHERED BY PEOPLE USING HER NAME IN CULTURE WARS: ‘BASKETBALL’S MY JOB'

It's unclear who Reese was referring to when talking about the "special whistle."

As for Clark's thoughts on the flagrant foul, she didn't have anything bad to say about Reese. She agreed the physicality wasn't anything malicious. 

"What’s going through my mind is, ‘I need to make these two free throws,'" Clark said when a reporter asked her thoughts immediately after the foul. "That’s all I’m thinking about. Just a part of basketball. It is what it is. Just trying to make a play on the ball and get the block. It happens."

Clark continued by lauding Reese's competitive spirit and using her platform to promote the game.

"I think it’s just the emotion and passion we play with," Clark said. "I think people love to see that, and I think that’s maybe not something that was always appreciated in women’s sports. And it should be. That’s what makes it fun. We’re competitors. That’s the way the game should be. It’s going to get feisty, it’s going to get physical. But, at the end of the day, both of us are trying to win.

"I think what she’s done with her platform has been absolutely incredible, and she has an entire fan base that’s supported her for what she did at Maryland and LSU. Obviously, I played her a very long time, and she’s been a tremendous player. So, it’s getting to compete against [her], and I think it’s been really good for the game. And people love to see great matchups. 

"But, also, at the same time, people tune in for these matchups, but then they get to see how amazing these teams are, and they find new players to support. And continue to come back for them, too. So, I think that’s another benefit of it, honestly."

Fever head coach Christie Sides also believed the "right call was made" by officials on the Reese flagrant. She also alluded to flagrant fouls not being called, which we've seen recently with the Chennedy Carter shove on Clark. It was later upgraded to a flagrant foul. But during their previous matchup, it was a common foul. 

"I was really proud of how they all kept their composure," Sides said. "The right call was made in that moment — flagrant-1, two free throws and the ball. Just make the right call in those moments, and we can move forward. When we don’t make the right call in those moments, that’s when there’s a problem. 

"They made the right call tonight."

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