WNBA 2024 rookie tracker: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, more

ByESPN ESPN logo
Friday, June 21, 2024 2:06AM

The 2024 WNBA season is only five weeks old, and rookies remain a dominant storyline.

But Cameron Brink, one of the top players in one of the most anticipated rookie classes in league history, is out for the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL on Tuesday.

The No. 2 pick in April's draft, Brink went down in the first quarter of the Los Angeles Sparks' loss Tuesday. The Sparks on Wednesday confirmed the injury.

Like fellow rookies Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever and Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky, Brink had started every game for her team this season.

"You never think it will happen to you. And despite all the hard work sometimes it does," Brink wrote Wednesday on Instagram. "This is hard to fathom but I know it will only make me stronger."

We will continue to track the top rookie performances every time they take the court, so check back every game day.

Last updated: June 20

Angel Reese, Chicago Sky

Forward | 6-foot-3 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Angel Reese was a rebounding machine in college, and the machine has not slowed down in the WNBA. In Thursday's 83-72 victory over Dallas, Reese had her season high with 18 rebounds, to go with 16 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. Reese now has the WNBA rookie record for consecutive double-doubles with seven in a row. The overall record for consecutive double-doubles is 12, set by Candace Parker in 2009-10. The WNBA rookie record for rebounds in a game is 23 by Tina Charles in 2010 with the Connecticut Sun. Reese's single-game rebounding record while in college was 28 in her first season at LSU, Jan. 5, 2023, against Texas A&M. Reese is the first rookie since Dallas' Satou Sabally to have a 15-point, 15 rebound game.

What we learned: This was a meeting of two teams that really needed a victory. Chicago came in having lost four in a row and six of its last seven. Dallas had lost eight in a row. That's nine now, and the Wings must hope they can get a win at last-place Washington with two games in the nation's capital this weekend. Meanwhile the Sky moved to 5-9 and face the Indiana Fever for the third time this season on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN) in Chicago. Considering the drama in the first two meetings - both Fever victories that included flagrant fouls against Indiana's Caitlin Clark -- it's a hot ticket. --Michael Voepel

Up next: vs. Indiana Fever on Sunday (ESPN, 4 ET)

Kamilla Cardoso, Chicago Sky

Center | 6-foot-7 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Cardoso had 9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in the Sky's 83-72 victory Thursday over Chicago. So, yes, Reese and Cardoso between them had 29 of the Sky's 39 rebounds. That's twin-tower stuff, just what the Sky hoped for in drafting these two former college rivals. In the previous game, Sunday at Indiana, Cardoso and Reese became the first rookie teammates to get double-doubles in the same game since 2008, and they came close to doing it again Thursday in Chicago.

What we learned: If there's a small concern for Cardoso in the last two games, it's shooting percentage. She was 4 of 10 on Thursday, and 4 of 11 last Sunday. For the season, she is shooting 47.4% from the field. - Voepel

Up next: vs. Indiana Fever on Sunday (ESPN, 4 ET)

Rickea Jackson, Los Angeles Sparks

Forward | 6-foot-2 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Playing for the first time since Cameron Brink's ACL tear at Connecticut, Jackson did not see more offensive opportunities in a 93-80 road loss to the New York Liberty. Despite scoring four points in the first 4:10, Jackson finished with six points -- her lowest total since June 11 -- and just one rebound. Her 21 minutes played were also Jackson's lowest total in that four-game span.

What we learned: Although the Sparks moved center Li Yueru into the starting lineup to replace Brink, Jackson did see more action in the frontcourt. When Los Angeles went to its second unit, Dearica Hamby shifted to center to replace Li, with Jackson sliding down to power forward. Jackson will likely continue in that role until either Azura Stevens returns to the lineup or Los Angeles adds a player via hardship if eligible. -- Kevin Pelton

Up next: at New York Liberty on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

Guard | 6-foot | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Clark stacked up the stats at Iowa, finishing with 17 triple-doubles in her college career. Wednesday, she got closer again to being the first WNBA rookie and first Fever player ever to get a triple-double as Indiana won its third game in a row. In the Fever's 88-81 victory over Washington, Clark finished with 18 points, a season-high 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Clark was 6 of 12 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Clark also had 6 turnovers, but in the postgame news conference teammate, teammate Aliyah Boston said, "Don't worry about it ... we know she's a great passer." Clark is the first rookie to have consecutive games with at least 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists since Candace Parker did so for Los Angeles in 2008. Clark trails former Fever star Tamika Catchings (eight) and Parker (seven) for most 15/5/5 games as a rookie; Clark now has 6. Of her team-high rebound total, Clark joked, "Don't get used to it." She averaged 7.1 rebounds in her college career and is at 5.5 RPG so far in the WNBA.

What we learned: For the second game in a row, the Fever shot over 50% from the field, and the connection the players have keeps growing. After starting 1-8, the Fever are 6-10. Dating to June 1, they have won four home games in a row. That's something the franchise hadn't done since 2015; the Fever lost to the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Finals that year. "I think everybody just loves instant satisfaction in our world," Clark said of how she and the Fever dealt with outside negativity about their slow start. "No one came in here and said we were going to be WNBA champions from Day 1 ... our goal was to get back to the playoffs. And we're fighting for that every single night. You have to have perspective on things, and that goes for life, too. "There needs to be solid perspective on what this team can accomplish. And I think everybody in our locker room had that. We had the hardest schedule to start, we didn't get to practice much and we're playing with the most inexperienced team in the WNBA. I think this group is starting to click and build some chemistry." -- Voepel

Up next: at Atlanta Dream on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, ION)

Aaliyah Edwards, Washington Mystics

Forward | 6-foot-3 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: It seemed early in Wednesday's 88-81 loss to Indiana that Edwards was going to be targeted by Indiana post player Aliyah Boston. The Fever standout is in her second year, so she knows what it's like being a rookie in the paint.

Boston might be young, too, but she was teaching school Wednesday. She finished with 22 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field and 5 of 5 from the line. According to Second Spectrum, Boston had 8 points on 3 of 4 shooting against Edwards as the primary defender. Still, the rookie shouldn't feel bad; Boston also 6 points on 3 of 3 shooting against veteran Stefanie Dolson. Offensively, Edwards was 1 of 6 from the field for and 2 of 2 from the line for 4 points.

What we learned: Overall, Edwards' June has been good, especially for a rookie post player on a team with the fewest wins in the league. In her seven games this month, Edwards has scored in double figures four times, averaging 11.4 points and 8.6 rebounds. -- Voepel

Up next: vs. Dallas Wings on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

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