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Angel Reese contends she was making basketball play on Caitlin Clark despite flagrant foul call

Angel Reese insisted all she did Sunday was make a basketball play against Caitlin Clark.

The former Iowa star agreed with her college rival.

But that isn’t likely to defuse what happens next.

After the Indiana Fever rookie wound up on the ground courtesy of Reese’s right elbow striking Clark’s head on a drive to the basket, the referees used replay review to upgrade the foul call to a flagrant-1 and almost assuredly setting off yet another debate about the contact Clark seems to be facing each game.

“I can’t control the refs and they affected the game, obviously, a lot tonight,” Reese said after finishing with 11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and five fouls in the Chicago Sky’s 91-83 loss at Indiana . “Y’all are probably going to play that clip like 20 times before Monday.”

Naturally, it didn’t take long for the highlight to start making the social media rounds.

But regardless of whether the elbow was intentional, the result was the same — Clark taking a head shot most sports leagues want to prevent.

Clark’s response was to walk calmly to the free-throw line late in the third quarter, make both shots and help lead her team to its second straight victory before again downplaying the situation in her postgame news conference.

“It is what it is, you know, she’s trying to make a play on the ball and get the block,” Clark said after finishing with 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in her best all-around game as a pro. “I mean it happens and then those free throws when you have to shoot with nobody at the line are kind of hard. So I was just focusing on making those free throws.”

Still, Sunday’s scene was quite different from the one that played out two weeks earlier between these same teams in front of another sellout crowd in Indianapolis.

Back then, Sky guard Chennedy Carter hit Clark on an inbound play that sent the unsuspecting guard to the ground. Carter was tagged with an away-from-the-ball call, which resulted in one free throw and league officials later upgraded the call to a flagrant-1.

Fever fans serenaded Carter and Reese with cheers any time either was called for a foul in Sunday’s rematch.

No, Fever coach Christie Sides wasn’t happy to see her star player hit the deck yet again, but at least this time, she thought they got it right.

“The right call was made in that moment,” Sides said. “Just make the right call in those moments, and we can move forward. But when we don’t make the right call in those moments, that’s when there’s a problem and they made the right call tonight.”

Reese, clearly, did not agree.

“I think we went up really strong a lot of times and didn’t get a lot of calls,” she said. “Going back and looking, I’ve seen a lot of calls that weren’t made, I guess some people get a special whistle.”

Credit: AP

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