WNBA rookie rankingsWNBA rookie rankings: Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark battle for top spot (2024)

A decade ago at the WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, two rookies became the story. One had been drafted No. 1. The other heard her name called just inside the top 10. Sound familiar?

Ten years later, history seems poised to repeat itself when the All-Star Game tips off in Phoenix in a few weeks.

Then, it was Atlanta Dream guard Shoni Schimmel who took center stage. Schimmel scored a then-All-Star record 29 points and had 8 assists. She led her team to an overtime victory. For her efforts, she was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. “They call her Showtime Schimmel,” fellow All-Star Tamika Catchings said afterward. “She came out and put on a great show.”

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Chiney Ogwumike, who was the top pick by the Connecticut Sun, was the other rookie who played in the 2014 showcase. She and her sister, Nneka Ogwumike, were both top draft picks, joining Eli and Peyton Manning as siblings to hold that distinction in the history of the four major U.S. sports leagues and the WNBA. In Phoenix, they became the first sisters to participate in the same WNBA All-Star Game.

The countdown begins… ⏳

Get ready to witness the ultimate clash of talent as #WNBAAllStar meets the USA Women’s National Team on July 20th at 8:30pm/ET on ABC 📺 pic.twitter.com/oEyJciHmEx

— WNBA (@WNBA) July 3, 2024

Attention in the league will turn to Phoenix on July 20 with Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese — two rookies, this year’s No. 1 and No. 7 selections, respectively — among headliners for Team WNBA. This year’s game will mark the first time since 2014 that two rookies will appear in the league’s All-Star Game.

With less than two weeks until the All-Star and Olympic break, here is how rookies stack up. Like in past editions, this week’s rookie rankings are not a reflection of what my current all-rookie-team ballot would look like, but a gauge of how rookies have performed since mid-June.

RankPlayerTeamPrevious rank

1

Angel Reese

Chicago

1

2

Caitlin Clark

Indiana

2

3

Leonie Fiebich

New York

NR

4

Kamilla Cardoso

Chicago

3

5

Rickea Jackson

Los Angeles

4

1. Angel Reese, Chicago Sky

13.2 PPG | 11.8 RPG | 39.7 FG%

Reese was named June’s Rookie of the Month after recording a double-double in all but one of the Sky’s contests. Her season rebounding totals have been impressive — the league leader in rebounds per game (11.8) and offensive rebounds per game (4.8) — but she has been most effective over the past two weeks. She had 15 or more rebounds in four of her last five games.

As the season’s halfway point approaches, it’s hard not to compare Reese’s career start to Tina Charles’ in 2010. Charles still holds the rookie regular-season record for rebounds per game (11.7), and she had 15 or more rebounds eight times that year. Reese could break that feat with a strong close to the first half and a continuation of what she’s done when play resumes in August.

GO DEEPERGreenberg: Angel Reese an All-Star, Teuvo's back, Cubs/White Sox bad, Bulls questionable

2. Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

16.0 PPG | 7.1 APG | 5.7 RPG

On an almost nightly basis, Clark makes history. Against the Seattle Storm last week, she became the fastest to 300 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists in WNBA history. Sunday against the Phoenix Mercury, she set the Fever franchise rookie record for most assists (138) after tallying 15 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds. Just before tipoff of Tuesday’s game with the Las Vegas Aces, Clark earned her first All-Star selection, and though Indiana suffered its 13th loss, she recorded her fifth double-double.

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Her passing and scoring continue to impress, and Clark remains an important rebounder for the Fever. Her 4.9 rebounds per game since June 14 are the sixth most of any WNBA guard.

3. Leonie Fiebich, New York Liberty

5.2 PPG | 2.6 RPG | 1.5 APG

Fiebich’s per-game numbers might not pop like some rookies’ on this list, but she has carved out a critical role for a WNBA championship contender. The 6-foot-4 forward has seen her minutes increase from 13.4 per game up until June 14 to nearly 26 minutes in her last seven games. Over that span, Fiebich has a plus-21.6 net rating — the most among rookies.

Coach Sandy Brondello trusts Fiebich in key moments, allowing her to play 8.3 minutes per fourth quarter in that span. She’s stretching opponents on offense (shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range in her last seven games) while showing versatility as a defender, capably switching onto both bigs and guards. During Sunday’s win over the Dream, she joined Clark as the only other rookie to have at least 10 points, 3 steals and two 3-pointers in a game. Fiebich joined the WNBA with a high pedigree as the MVP of the Spanish league this offseason. She’s one of the reasons New York has the WNBA’s best record.

4. Kamilla Cardoso, Chicago Sky

8.3 PPG | 7.8 RPG | 0.8 BPG

Cardoso has continued acclimating to her role as Chicago’s starting center. She had her first double-double on June 16 and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds on June 20. Cardoso and Reese became the first rookie teammates with multiple 10-plus-rebound performances in the same game since Charles and Kelsey Griffin for the Sun in 2010.

Like Reese, Cardoso still has room for improvement around the basket. She is shooting just 47.9 percent at the rim, according to Synergy Sports, and she’s shooting a mere 42.4 percent from the field since June 14.

Rickea Jackson’s confidence as a rookie is NEXT LEVEL 🌟

Back-to-back buckets brings her to 12 PTS in the matchup

📲 Mystics-Sparks on League Pass pic.twitter.com/6yh5GBePig

— WNBA (@WNBA) July 3, 2024

5. Rickea Jackson, Los Angeles Sparks

10.2 PPG | 3.5 RPG | 46.8 FG%

Though the Sparks have gone winless since June 9, Jackson has remained a bright spot. Of late, she has been a key contributor, especially in first quarters when Los Angeles features her early in games. Since June 14, her 4.7 first-quarter points per game are tied for 15th in the WNBA, ahead of All-Stars like Napheesa Collier, Arike Ogunbowale and Aliyah Boston. Jackson also has been efficient in her early-game scoring, shooting 56 percent from the field.

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Jackson has had to play the three and four in the wake of Cameron Brink’s season-ending ACL injury. As she’s cycled roles, she’s continued to diversify her game. Against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday, Jackson set a career high with 4 assists, tallying 12 points and 5 rebounds.

Also considered: Jacy Sheldon (Dallas Wings), Aaliyah Edwards (Mystics), Julie Vanloo (Mystics), Sevgi Uzun (Wings)

(Photo of Angel Reese: Quinn Harris / Getty Images)

WNBA rookie rankingsWNBA rookie rankings: Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark battle for top spot (7)WNBA rookie rankingsWNBA rookie rankings: Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark battle for top spot (8)

Ben Pickman is a staff writer for The Athletic covering the WNBA and women’s college basketball. Previously, he was a writer at Sports Illustrated where he primarily covered women’s basketball and the NBA. He has also worked at CNN Sports and the Wisconsin Center for Journalism Ethics. Follow Ben on Twitter @benpickman

WNBA rookie rankingsWNBA rookie rankings: Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark battle for top spot (2024)

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