Angel Reese Is Setting The Record Straight On Those Caitlin Clark ‘Rivalry’ Rumors

angel reese and caitlin clark

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark’s On-Court HistoryDesign by Christine Giordano

With the NCAA March Madness tournament heating up, all eyes are on LSU forward Angel Reese and Iowa guard Caitlin Clark.

The two women captivated the world last spring, when Angel’s Tigers beat Caitlin’s Hawkeyes 102-85 in the hotly-contested 2023 national championship. And this year, it could be round two as the stars enter the tournament once again.

Angel, 21, and Caitlin, 22, are both fierce competitors who have become standout names in their school’s athletic programs. And in the wake of LSU’s 2023 championship run, online chatter about a supposed “rivalry” between the two players dominated headlines.

But Angel set the record straight in her March/April cover interview with Women’s Health.

“I love that we’re able to compete and still be cool after, regardless of the outside noise,” Angel told WH. “When we get between the lines and we’re ready to compete, we just want to win. That’s just the group of women—we always want to win, and we’re strong and super powerful in everything that we do.”

It’s also not lost on Angel that the more people talk about the “rivalry” between her and Caitlin, the more airtime they each get—not to mention, the increased public interest ultimately benefits women’s basketball.

Ahead, here’s a look back at the history between Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark on the court, what’s been said about their “rivalry,” and how they’re actually pretty cool with each other.

Angel and Caitlin played AAU basketball together.

The players didn’t meet on the collegiate court; they’ve been competing against each other since their high school Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) days.

Before the 2023-2024 season began, Angel cleared the air on the situation that speculated animosity between Caitlin. “Oh my gosh, I love Caitlin; we’ve been competing since we were in AAU,” she told reporters during LSU’s media day in October 2023. “It was always fun, always competitive. One day, hopefully, we could even be teammates. She is a great player, shooter, person and teammate.”

Watch Angel’s interview below:

Things came to a head during the national championship game.

As time dwindled down at the end of the biggest game of the season, Angel pointed to her ring finger as Caitlin walked past her. She also waved her hand to make John Cena’s famous “You can’t see me” gesture in Caitlin’s direction.

louisiana state university vs university of iowa, 2023 ncaa women's national championship

Caitlin Clark (L) and Angel Reese (R) during the womenGreg Nelson – Getty Images

While making hand gestures and outwardly showing competitiveness in basketball isn’t out of the norm, many people took to social media to say that Angel was inappropriately taunting her opponent, even though Caitlin had made the same gesture just a few games prior.

In an October 2023 press conference, Angel explained that with the nature of media and sports fandom, people will always make one person out to be the “bad girl” and the other the “good girl.”

“I’ll take that I’m going to be the bad guy because I know I’ve grown women’s basketball and inspired people,” she said.

Caitlin was also quick to defend Angel amid the social media backlash. “I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all,” she told ESPN’s Outside the Lines in April 2023.

“No matter which way it goes, she should never be criticized for what she did. I’m just one that competes, and she competed. I think everybody knew there was going to be a little trash talk.

It’s not just me and Angel. I don’t think she should be criticized, like I said. LSU deserves it. They played so well. Like I said, I’m a big fan of hers.”

After all the hype, Angel even stepped away for a few games at the beginning of the 2023-24 season, per People. “Taking time for yourself is really important,” she said at the time.

“People are going to say what they want to say, but I know how many people I have impacted in a positive way,” Angel told WH, reflecting on the situation nearly a year later. “I don’t live with any regrets.”

Angel and Caitlin are totally cool with each other.

The Maryland native told WH that while she and Caitlin may “talk trash” on the court, it’s just part of the game. Off the court, they share the same goal of bringing women’s basketball to a larger audience.

“Everybody thinks that we’re at each other but me and her know [we’re not], and that’s all that matters,” Angel also said when asked about her relationship with Caitlin during that same October interview.

“I don’t care about anything that’s negative. When you know the person and what they’re genuine intentions are, being able to know that we did something big, that we grew women’s basketball. That’s all that matters.”

Angel also noted that basketball fans are equating their competitive rivalry to NBA players Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who had a years-long battle on the court from college to the pros.

“If that’s who we are, then okay, cool,” she told WH. “I think we’re both happy about what’s going on.”

And besides, she’s too focused on her future in basketball to care about what’s been said about her and Caitlin in the past.

Angel looks forward to “that camaraderie going into WNBA and just being able to grow as much as we can,” she told WH

. “[I’m] authentically, unapologetically myself, and I hope I can inspire—and have inspired other women—to do the same thing.”

Angel supported Caitlin during her record-breaking year.

Caitlin had an impressive 2024, smashing the all-time NCAA Division 1 scoring record—for men’s and women’s basketball—earlier this month.

And Angel was there to cheer her on the entire time.

“Congratulations @CaitlinClark22 KEEP BREAKING RECORDS & MAKING HER-STORY!” Angel wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) when Caitlin broke the women’s record in February.

Angel and Caitlin have both grown their NIL valuations this season.

Both of these women are also highly sought-after, having signed a number of NIL (name, image, and likeness) deals heading into March Madness.

With a value of $3.1 million, Caitlin has the fourth-highest NIL valuation among all college athletes, while Angel is ranked eighth on the list with $1.8 million, per On3.

In the last month alone, Caitlin has wracked up partnerships with Gainbridge and Panini America, while Angel has nabbed deals with Topps and Goldman Sachs, according to the site.

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