WNBA Stephen A Smith defends Angel Reese’s claim she made ‘basketball play’ on flagrant foul against Caitlin Clark

Stephen A. Smith added his belief that refs were watching Reese’s actions closely with Clark on the floor.

Angel Reese’s flagrant foul on Caitlin Clark Sunday afternoon in the Chicago Sky-Indiana Fever rematch was certainly going to be a talking point for morning sports shows on Monday.

ESPN’s “First Take” saw Stephen A. Smith discuss the play, where he agreed with Reese, who said after the game that it was a “basketball play,” as she was trying to go for the block.

However, Smith implied that referees in the WNBA are watching Reese and the Sky closely, especially when playing against Clark.

“I will say this: It was a basketball play,” Smith said on the show. “Yes, Angel Reese is right about that. But what they called against her in terms of upgrading it to a flagrant-1 is exactly what they would’ve done in the NBA as well. … She can be upset about it, but it’s a hit to the head, and that’s what they’re doing in this day and age. The call is correct.

“No. 2, I also think to some degree they’re looking for something from Angel Reese because if you recall when Chennedy Carter bumped or shoved Caitlin Clark to the floor, what was that? June 1. If I remember correctly, you got footage of Angel Reese getting up and clapping and stuff.”

Carter’s hip-check foul on Clark, which was a common foul on the court but upgraded to a flagrant-1 after the league took a look at it after the game, caused widespread controversy and an argument about whether players were targeting Clark on the court and being too physical.

But Clark has continuously said this is all in the heat of competition, whether it’s Carter’s foul or Reese’s. Smith agrees.

“We don’t care about that because. Once again, that’s basketball,” he said. “That’s what happened. It’s not big deal.”

Clark reiterated Reese’s point after the game, saying she believed it was a basketball play and there was no malicious intent behind being hit in the head.

“Just a part of basketball. It is what it is. Just trying to make a play on the ball and get the block. It happens,” Clark said to reporters.

Stephen A Smit talks

ESPN broadcaster Stephen A. Smith agreed with Angel Reese that her foul was a “basketball play.” (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Clark had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds to lead Indiana over Chicago, which marks a 2-0 record against them so far this season. Clark is now 3-1 all-time against Reese, including their time at Iowa and LSU respectively.

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