Angel Reese's cultural import off the floor was always bound to make her a WNBA star. Just one month into her highly anticipated rookie season, it's abundantly clear the Chicago Sky forward would've been bound for that label due to her play on the hardwood, too.

Reese entered rarified basketball air in Chicago's hard-fought 83-81 road loss to the Washington Mystics on Friday night, notching her fifth straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. The only other first-year players in league history to accomplish that feat? Atlanta Dream center and former WNBA MVP Tina Charles (six double-doubles, former Detroit Shock F/C Cindy Brown (six double-doubles) and Dallas Wings center Teaira McCowan (five double-doubles).

Charles, of course, is one of the most decorated players in the history of women's basketball. McCowan made First Team All-Rookie in 2019 with the Indiana Fever, since emerging as a solid starter with the Wings. Brown isn't nearly as well-known to modern-day fans, but her resumé also suggests an extremely bright future for Reese. A gold medalist with Team USA at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Brown made Second Team All-WNBA in the league's inaugural campaign before retiring after the following season.

Not bad company for the Chi Barbie, right?

Angel Reese's immediate impact with Sky

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) at Barclays Center
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Sky selected Reese with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2024 WNBA Draft following a standout collegiate career that made her a household name across the country. She led LSU to an NCAA championship over Caitlin Clark and Iowa in 2023 after transferring from Maryland, then fell to the Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight of this year's tournament in a rematch that drew a whopping 12.3 million viewers. Reese finished her amateur playing days as a three-time All-American.

Not everyone expected Reese to make an immediate impact in the W. It's not uncommon for first-round picks to struggle or even quickly get released at the highest level of the women's game, leading doubters to predict a similar fate would befall her. Instead, Reese has been a nightly starter in the frontcourt for Chicago, quickly emerging as an on-court and locker-room leader for Teresa Weatherspoon's gritty team.

Reese is averaging 12.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game, establishing herself as a strong early contender for Rookie of the Year. Those rebound and steal marks both rank top-five league-wide, while her 4.6 offensive rebounds per game is an easy WNBA best. She's made her presence felt on defense, too, Reese's athleticism, length and versatility looming large across the floor.

Though Reese has made obvious progress as a perimeter shooter and ball handler, she's still not efficient enough offensively, shooting just 38.5% from the floor despite launching just three three-point attempts on the season. Those labors haven't stopped her contributing to winning, though.

Chicago's net rating with Reese on the floor is +2.2, over four points per 100 possessions better than the team's negative average, per Her off-court net rating, meanwhile, is a disastrous -11.2, second-worst on the team behind Lindsay Allen's.

Skepticism of how her game would translate to the WNBA was commonplace leading up to Reese's debut campaign. Let's just say she's not surprised by her instant success, in part due to how Hall-of-Fame coach Kim Mulkey's tough love at LSU helped prepare her for the rigors of professional basketball.

“I think my transition has been great,” Reese told CBS Sports on Wednesday. “It hasn't been a super big huge surprise because Kim Mulkey kind of prepared me for this moment. At LSU, our practices were like four hours. We were ready. We were working. I thought [WNBA] training camp was going to be harder.”

“So I think I was really prepared,” she continued. “I didn't have any, like, WNBA surprises yet.”