Angel Reese (smiling) pro debut [1296x729]
Angel Reese (smiling) pro debut [1296x729] (Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Soto rejoins Yankees serves as DH vs Royals

The 2024 WNBA season is off and running for one of the most anticipated rookie classes in league history. With the WNBA at a tipping point, all eyes are on Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 pick in April's draft and the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer.

But the rookie class is loaded with potential future stars. In addition to Clark, forwards Cameron Brink, the No. 2 draft pick with the Los Angeles Sparks, and Angel Reese, the No. 7 pick to the Chicago Sky, were among the rookies in starting lineups Tuesday and Wednesday as the season opened.

How did the top rookies perform in their pro debuts? We'll track their performances every time they take the court, so check back every game day.

Looking for center Kamilla Cardoso? She's sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered in early May. When she returns, we'll add the Sky's No. 3 pick -- and other rookies as the season progresses.

Angel Reese, Chicago Sky Forward | 6-foot-3 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Reese had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in her debut Wednesday for the Sky, who lost 87-79 at Dallas. Reese's eight rebounds (including five offensive boards) tied with Elena Delle Donne and Diamond DeShields for the most by a Sky rookie in her debut game.

Reese was 5-for-14 from the field but was going against a tough tandem inside: Natasha Howard, the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and 6-7 Teaira McCowan. Those two combined for 33 points and 26 rebounds.

What stood out: Reese played 26 minutes in her first game, as she and all the Sky's starters scored in double figures. The Sky led the Wings by four points with 5 minutes left. But Dallas went on a 18-6 run to close it out, going 8-of-8 from the floor in that stretch. Reese prides herself on defense, and in the opener she saw how tough it can be to slow down an offense like Dallas when it gets on a roll.

Reese and the Sky can immediately put what they learned Wednesday to use, as they have a rematch with the Wings in Dallas. -- Michael Voepel

Up next: at Dallas Wings on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBA TV)

Cameron Brink, Los Angeles Sparks Forward | 6-foot-4 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Brink started and played 20 minutes in the Sparks' 92-81 opening loss to Atlanta on Wednesday. She finished 4-for-6 from the field for 11 points, adding 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots. She also had five fouls -- but unlike at Stanford, where she battled foul trouble, five doesn't disqualify you in the WNBA.

What stood out: Overall it was a solid start, especially considering Atlanta's inside tandem: future Hall of Famer Tina Charles, making her Dream debut in her 13th WNBA season, and Cheyenne Parker-Tyus, who made her first All-Star Game last season. Brink had the best plus/minus for the Sparks at plus-8. -- Michael Voepel

Up next: at Las Vegas Aces on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, ABC)

Rickea Jackson, Los Angeles Sparks Forward | 6-foot-2 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: Jackson's first career basket came after she stole the ball and made a layup just before the first-half buzzer, tying the score at 48. Coming off the bench, she played 18 minutes and went 3-of-10 from the field for 7 points, adding 3 rebounds Wednesday.

What stood out: See what we said above about Brink and how difficult a matchup it was inside for the Sparks' two rookie forwards, who were taken at No. 2 and No. 4 in the draft. The Sparks will look at where Jackson took her shots and try to make some adjustment there before tackling the Aces. -- Michael Voepel

Up next: at Las Vegas Aces on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, ABC)

Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever Guard | 6-foot-0 | Game log | Stats

Last time out: She scored a team-high 20 points with 3 assists and 2 steals Tuesday in her WNBA debut. But she also committed 10 turnovers and shot 5-for-15 from the field and 4-for-11 on 3-pointers in a 92-71 loss to Connecticut.

What stood out: Clark will no doubt be bothered by the turnovers, but she knew she would endure some growing pains. She also went against one of the best defenses in the WNBA in her first game. But she never seemed to lose confidence or aggression, and she will figure out how to better calibrate her passing. Sooner or later, Clark will have a hot hand -- and it will be needed as the Fever face a tough schedule in the opening two weeks. -- Michael Voepel

Up next: vs. New York Liberty on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime)