The Sporting News has named LSU forward Angel Reese and Iowa guard Caitlin Clark Athlete of the Year by Sporting News — the first two women to win the award since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988. 

The two collegiate basketball stars enthralled the sports world with their game-changing regular and postseason exploits.

In the NCAA national title game, Reese led LSU’s women’s basketball team to a 102-85 victory over Clark’s Iowa State. Reese was named NCAA’s Most Outstanding Player at last year’s Women’s Final Four, was ranked second in the nation in rebounding, fifth in scoring and had an NCAA record of 34 double-doubles in one season. According to Vibe, Reese also has the highest NIL contract of any female athlete in college basketball, at an estimated 1.7 million.

Despite competing for a national title last season, Clark and her team failed to win it, but she has gone on to place among the most storybook careers in NCAA history. Clark also joined Reese as a first-team All-American. Her record of scoring in Division I women’s basketball will likely make her the only player in history to finish their career among the top 10 in both points and assists. A single NCAA Tournament by Clark in 2023 accounted for more points than any other in history.

Aside from their on-court success, both players have appeared in nationally televised commercials and appeared on magazine covers. Both women have brought in newfound fans for women’s basketball. Fans expressed mixed reactions to the news that Reese and Clark shared the award, with some arguing that Reese should have been recognized separately because of her success in defeating Clark in the national championship game. While others said Clark was more deserving because she continued to dominate the NCAA season in 2023-24.

Congratulations to both ladies!