The WNBA has experienced a rise in viewership, largely attributed to the emergence of highly talented rookies who have made a significant impact on the league. Players like Caitlin Clark from the Indiana Fever, Angel Reese from the Chicago Sky, and Cameron Brink from the Los Angeles Sparks have not only demonstrated exceptional skills but have also reignited interest in the WNBA. Prominent sports analysts like Skip Bayless have also shown heightened interest in the league.

However, the Fox Sports 1 host suggested that jealousy could be at the heart of the rivalry between Clark and Reese.

Skip Bayless: Angel Reese is jealous and bitter

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) celebrates after scoring against the Connecticut Sun during the first half of a basketball game at Wintrust Arena.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

“Now I listen to her postgame, and yeah, she’s become the villain,” Bayless said about Reese.

“Her postgames reek a little bit of jealousy and bitterness. That’s how it comes across to me. But I don’t know; they’re still too young for me to know for sure where they’re going to stand,” he continued.

In Sunday's WNBA game featuring the Sky and the Fever, Clark was again on the wrong end of a hard foul.

A few weeks ago, Chennedy Carter knocked Clark down with a hip-check while Reese cheered from the bench. This Sunday, Reese committed a flagrant foul by accidentally hitting Clark on the head while trying to block a layup.

Following the game, Reese described the foul as “a basketball play,” emphasizing her intention to go for the ball. She further defended herself by suggesting that “Some people get a special whistle.” Skip Bayless interpreted Reese's comments as potentially stemming from jealousy towards Clark.

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese drawing different size of audiences

“She’s gonna have to accept the fact that when her team on Friday night went to play the Washington Mystics, they kept it in the little gym,” Bayless added.

“The little building which holds 4,200 and that’s what they drew. And when Caitlin went there a couple of weeks ago to play the Mystics, who are the worst team in the league, they moved it to the big gym. They moved it to the big arena…and they sold 20,333 seats. Angel drew 4,000, basically, and Caitlin drew 20,000. That’s just a fact,” he continued.

“And when she says ‘special whistle', I gotta tell you, I've watched every single one of Caitlin's games. There have been so many times when she's trying to dribble the ball up the court, and she gets met by a very physical defender who just footballs her. And they don't ever call it,” Bayless disagreeing with Reese’s take. “I don't see special whistle.”

“The point is, all of her postgames – and again, she’s playing the villain role,” Bayless said about Reese.

The rivalry will be good for the WNBA

Bayless's observation about Reese portraying a villainous role holds merit. However, this dynamic can be beneficial for the WNBA, as having a prominent player like Reese as a rival for Clark adds excitement and intrigue to the league.

The ongoing rivalry between Clark and Reese has the potential to elevate the WNBA's popularity significantly in the coming years. Given that both players are embracing the rivalry, there appears to be no necessity for jealousy or bitterness to mar their competition.

It's been a turbulent beginning for Clark and the Fever in the 2024 WNBA season, but they've swiftly turned things around. Currently on a hot streak, they've clinched victories in two consecutive matches and three out of their last four, improving their record to 5-10. This surge has positioned them favorably for a potential playoff berth, at least for the moment.