Caitlin Clark's first WNBA meeting with Angel Reese flexed to ESPN

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese at the WNBA Draft held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024 in New York, New York. (Photo by Cora Veltman/Sportico via Getty Images)

One of the biggest oversights in the WNBA television schedule has been remedied.

The Indiana Fever's first game against the Chicago Sky this season — read: Caitlin Clark's first WNBA game against college rival Angel Reese — has been flexed from NBA TV to ESPN, according to Sports Media Watch. The two teams will face off June 1.

The move is common sense from ESPN. Clark has brought unprecedented attention to women's basketball in recent months, and Iowa's two games against Reese and LSU are a major reason why. The Hawkeyes' win over the Tigers last month drew 12.3 viewers on the same network, making it the most-watched women's college basketball game of all time.

That record was broken twice over in Iowa's next two games, culminating in 18.7 million tuning in for the championship game loss against South Carolina. The 14.2 million viewers for Iowa-UConn in the Final Four was the most-watched basketball game in history, men or women's as well as college or professional.

The interest isn't only in Clark. Reese's preseason debut wasn't televised, but hundreds of thousands of people watched her play through a spur-of-the-moment livestream on X.

So it's only natural ESPN would want to capitalize on the Clark-Reese rivalry again now that both women are pros. Reese achieved an enormous amount of fame after leading LSU to a national championship over Iowa last year, as well as no shortage of detractors for how she trash-talked Clark as the game ended.

Both athletes have made very clear there is no personal animus behind their rivalry, and have even embraced their linked fortunes.

Clark has struggled so far in her WNBA career, with the Fever going a lopsided 0-2 and their No. 1 overall pick shooting 7-of-23 (30.4%) from the field with 13 turnovers. It's not really time to hit the panic button, though, given that Clark is being expected to handle ball-handling duties only a month after joining her team and 39 days since ending her collegiate career. Diana Taurasi wasn't wrong.

As for Reese, the Sky dropped their season opener 87-79 against the Dallas Wings on Wednesday. Taken seventh overall and paired in the paint with South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso, Reese scored 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds and two turnovers.

The June 1 matchup likely won't include a rematch between Clark and Cardoso, as the Brazilian big will miss a significant amount of time with a shoulder injury.