July 9, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: The real Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, plus A’ja Wilson’s historic run

Rob Knox: 'They're two highly competitive players and they want to beat each other, there's nothing wrong with that'

From long before the 2024 WNBA season tipped off, the main story seems to have been the rivalry between college-turned-professional opponents Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark. But how have their fellow WNBA players felt about that story? On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, The Next’s Rob Knox joins host Howard Megdal to cut through the noise and talk about how the league is adapting to the 2024 rookie class.

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“I think the biggest misconception that’s out there … [is] that the current women in the league, dislike [Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark]. And I think that’s [far] from the truth,” Knox explained. “… I think there’s a genuine appreciation for the entire rookie class that has come into the WNBA this year. I think there’s a genuine level of respect for the rookies. And I think that’s helped the veterans and the players that’s been in the league, I think it’s also helped them elevate their game as well. Because they know, they understand, they recognize that you have to continually improve and continually get better, or else these rookies will take their spot and think nothing of it. So I think that it’s been a perfect storm in a positive way.”

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“For better or for worse, you know, Angel and Caitlin are forever going to be linked,” Knox continued. “Even look at the fact that they’re gonna be teammates [during the 2024 WNBA All-Star game], which is going to be outstanding to be honest with you. They’ve both said that they’ve never had a personal dislike towards one another or animosity towards one another or anything like that. But I think that obviously, when it’s competition and you’re competing against the person across from you, you’re going to want to beat them. They’re two highly competitive players and they want to beat each other, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“[Elizabeth Williams], she had a really great perspective … She said, ‘we have a rookie class that understands their value, and understands their worth.’ And part of that has come from what’s happened the last couple of years in the NCAA with NIL, right? They’re coming in as brands and as people where they know their worth, and they understand that there’s opportunities outside of the WNBA,” Knox said.

Then, the conversation shifted to talk about A’ja Wilson‘s historic 2024 season and the behind the scenes of what it takes to stay in the elite tier of WNBA players.

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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

“Every time I watch her play, I just shake my head,” Knox said. “… It was funny because I was at the Mystics-Aces game in DC not too long ago … postgame, I was able to speak to A’ja one-on-one and … I was able to ask her, ‘honestly, how hard is what you’re doing?’ Because again, we take it for granted. Some people say it’s easy to just score and it’s not easy to score 25, 28, 30 points a night. It just isn’t, right? She said ‘[…] it’s definitely hard, but I challenge myself to bring my best stuff every single night and live up to that.’ So she embraces it, and when she embraces it, … it just takes it to another level.”

Tune in to Locked On Women’s Basketball to hear more of Knox’s reporting on how WNBA players are reacting to the 2024 rookie class, how Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are adapting to the pro level, and more on A’ja Wilson’s record-setting season. Make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

Written by The Next

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