Ranking the top five WNBA rookie debuts, including Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Cameron Brink



The 2024 WNBA season features what is perhaps the most highly-anticipated rookie class in league history, and those young players finally got a chance to step on the court for their first official games this week. Expectations were high and, while there will naturally be some learning curves, the rookies embraced the moment. 

Out of the 36 players who heard their name called on draft night, only 13 of them made a roster. Not all of them have seen playing time yet, including two-time NCAA champion Kamilla Cardoso and former Syracuse guard Dyaisha Fair — the third leading scorer in the history of women’s Division I basketball. Cardoso, who was drafted third overall by the Chicago Sky, is out with a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, Fair, a member of the two-time WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, may have difficulty seeing regular minutes given how deep that squad is. 

Those who have played include the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer and 2024 Naismith Player of the Year Caitlin Clark, 2024 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Cameron Brink and 2023 national champion Angel Reese. The season is just a few days old, but we already have a lot to talk about. Here are the top five rookie debuts thus far:

1. Cameron Brink, Los Angeles Sparks 

Brink was off to a solid start against the Atlanta Dream, but foul trouble limited her playing time as she racked up five fouls in 20 minutes. Nevertheless, she was efficient and looked confident in her debut Wednesday night. Brink finished with 11 points going 3 of 6 from the field, including two 3-pointers. She also added two rebounds, four assists and, just like she did at Stanford, she showed off her defensive strength with two blocks. The Sparks lost, 81-92, but the future looks bright in Los Angeles with Brink as a part of the mix.

2. Angel Reese, Chicago Sky

The former LSU star led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding in two consecutive seasons, and she showed how her skillset will be able to translate at the professional level. Despite a slow first half, the final stat line read 12 points, eight rebounds in a 79-87 loss to the Dallas Wings Wednesday night. Reese scored seven of the Sky’s 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Chicago might have won the game had it not been for Wings star Arike Ogunbowale registering 14 of her 25 points in that last period. Reese only had two turnovers, but like Brink, she will need to work on staying out of foul trouble. 

3. Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever 

Clark was an offensive machine in college and she did score a team-high 20 points in her debut Tuesday night. However, she attempted more shots than any of her other teammates and wasn’t very efficient, shooting 5 of 15 in the Fever’s 21-point loss to the Connecticut Sun. Clark’s “welcome to the W” moment came on Night 1 as Connecticut’s active defense clearly bothered the league’s top overall draft choice as evidenced by her WNBA-debut record 10 turnovers. Whether the miscues were due to bad decisions or Connecticut’s size, Clark will need to course-correct in the ball handling department. That being said, Clark might still be the most promising rookie this season, and she can take this game as a learning experience.

4. Rickea Jackson, Los Angeles Sparks

Although she wasn’t quite as efficient as Brink, Jackson had some really promising moments. The former Tennessee forward came off the bench and made a solid contribution with seven points and three rebounds. She did not have a good shooting night as she went 3 of 10 from the field, but she showed hustle and her first WBNA bucket came off a steal that beat the buzzer to tie the game at the half. The Sparks ended up losing, but plays like this one can be momentum changers later in the season.

5. Aaliyah Edwards, Washington Mystics

The Mystics almost pulled off an upset Tuesday night against the New York Liberty, one of the teams with the highest expectations this season. This was a big stage to step on to on your opening night, but Edwards handled it well. She did a little bit of everything while at UConn, and she has the potential to eventually be that on the pro level as well. She came off the bench and gave the Mystics six points on 2-of-4 shooting in 14 minutes, along with two rebounds and one block. 





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