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This Week in Women’s Basketball: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese lead preseason All-America team

Notable announcements—the preseason All-America team, Overtime Select and the Seasonlong WNBA Cares Community Assist Award—highlight this week’s women’s basketball news. We also remember the life of Tasha Butts.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - National Championship
Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese lead the preseason All-America team.
Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

If you’ve spent the past week celebrating the 2023 WNBA championship with the Las Vegas Aces, catch up on the women’s basketball news you might have missed:

Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese headline preseason All-Americans

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark unanimously was selected to the AP’s preseason All-America team, receiving 36 of 36 votes from a panel of national media voters. It’s the second-straight season that Clark has earned a unanimous nomination and her third time as a preseason All-American. LSU’s Angel Reese was one vote shy of a unanimous selection, earning 35 votes.

Stanford’s Cameron Brink, UConn’s Paige Bueckers, Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley and Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes complete the preseason team, with Kitley and Holmes tying for the fifth spot.

Rest in peace, Tasha Butts

The women’s basketball world has lost another guiding light. Georgetown head coach Tasha Butts, who had stepped away from her team before her first season with the Hoyas, lost her battle with breast cancer last Monday.

Her death due to cancer comes too soon after that of another Tennessee Lady Vol legend, Nikki McCray-Penson. Last Sunday, Oct. 22, South Carolina and Rutgers held an exhibition game celebrating McCray-Penson’s life and raising money for In the Middle, a non-profit that supports women and families impacted by breast cancer. On Nov. 4, a celebration of life will be held for Butts in her hometown of Milledgeville, GA.

Overtime establishes girls basketball league

Overtime, the social media platform turned basketball prospect incubator, has expanded into girls basketball with Overtime Select, a four-week league for elite players that will debut in the summer of 2024 at OTE Arena in Atlanta, GA. Highly-touted high school players who will participate include the top two prospects in the class of 2025, No. 1 Aaliyah Chavez of Lubbock, TX and No. 2 Jazzy Davidson of Clackamas, OR. Also from the class of 2025, twin sisters Mia and Mya Pauldo of Denville, NJ, ranked No. 7 and No. 24, respectively, are slated to participate. Jenica Lewis, the No. 23 prospect in the class of 2026, also has committed.

These prospects will be joined by others, forming an eight-team league that will compete in a regular season, playoffs and finals. A “Takeover Weekend” also has been planned, with an All-Star game, “Queen of the Court” competition and 3-point contest.

Professional and collegiate players will serve as mentors, including Breanna Stewart, Kahleah Copper, Haley Jones, Zia Cooke, Paige Bueckers and Flau’jae Johnson. WNBA legend Seimone Augustus also is involved with the initiative. Recently, Jones spoke to the Pauldo twins about the opportunity on her podcast, “Sometimes I Hoop.”

BG wins Seasonlong WNBA Cares Community Assist Award

Congratulations to Brittney Griner, winner of the Seasonlong WNBA Cares Community Assist Award. The winner of the monthly award for June, Griner continued her work in Phoenix, again organizing her Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, and with families of wrongful detainees, partnering with Bring Our Families Home. Last season, teammate Brianna Turner received the season-long honor.

On the award, Griner shared:

I’m grateful to receive this recognition from the WNBA but even more grateful to the X-Factor fans, fans all around the league, and our Phoenix Mercury organization for working together this year to make a difference through my Heart and Sole Shoe Drive and Bring Our Families Home. I know the opportunity, privilege and responsibility I have to make a difference in the lives of others, and I’ll always remain committed to that.

Listen to Natasha Cloud

Thanks to Natasha Cloud for always using her platform to fight for freedom and humanity.