Chicago Sky rookies Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso get some extra education in 1st matchup against A’ja Wilson

Sky rookies get extra education in matchup with A'ja WilsonIt’s not always easy to meet your hero.

Chicago Sky rookies Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese learned that lesson the hard way Thursday when they faced off against their idol, A’ja Wilson, for the first time in a 95-83 loss to the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces at Wintrust Arena.

Wilson, 27, is less than five years older than Cardoso and less than six years older than Reese, but her impact as a college star at South Carolina and a two-time WNBA MVP has made her a paragon of exceptionalism for the current rookie class.

One of the first WNBA games Reese attended as a fan was an Aces game in Las Vegas during Wilson’s rookie year in 2018.

“She didn’t know who I was obviously,” Reese joked in a pregame on-air interview.

In the six years since, Reese has modeled pieces of her playing style after Wilson. And Cardoso looked up to the former Gamecocks star as she came up through the South Carolina program under coach Dawn Staley.

Still, all that admiration from afar couldn’t prepare either rookie for meeting Wilson for the first time in the paint.

From the opening whistle, it was clear the rookies would have their hands full with Wilson. Reese picked up three fouls in the first half; Cardoso didn’t score until the third quarter.

Wilson twisted up both bigs in the post, making Cardoso sit back on her heels and laugh in frustration after artfully dancing around her in the low block to score in the second half. The veteran finished with 31 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals, a performance that seemed almost pedestrian as she continues to steamroll to the front of the MVP race.

The learning experience wasn’t fruitless for either rookie. Cardoso found comfort in second-chance scoring in the second half, also picking up a block and a pair of offensive rebounds. And Reese notched 18 points and 11 rebounds, securing her ninth consecutive double-double to tie Candace Parker for the longest streak in a single season.


Wilson praised Reese after the game for her relentless motor as the pair jockey for the league lead in rebounding.

“The biggest thing that I see from Angel is just her speed and her want to get the basketball,” Wilson said. “I feel like you don’t see that from a lot of players all the time, that second and third effort to go get the basketball. And she has that in her.”

But both bigs have plenty of improvement to make before their next meeting with Wilson and the Aces on July 16 in Las Vegas.