Caitlin Clark scores 20 in first WNBA game but Indiana lose to Connecticut

Indiana Fever lost 92-71 to Connecticut Sun in the season opener that was sold out for Clark’s debut game in the WNBA.

Caitlin Clark scored 20 points on her WNBA debut with Indiana Fever against the Connecticut Sun [David Butler II/USA Today Sports via Reuters]

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA career officially began on the road with Indiana Fever’s 92-71 loss at the hands of the Connecticut Sun in the regular-season opener in Uncasville, Connecticut.

DeWanna Bonner climbed the all-time scoring list with 20 points and the Sun capitalised on Clark’s mistake-prone debut on Tuesday.

Clark, who was chosen with the number one pick after a record-breaking college career, tallied a team-high 20 points and three assists but committed 10 turnovers and four fouls. She shot 5-for-15 from the floor, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range.

“Disappointed and nobody likes to lose, that’s how it is,” Clark said after the game.

“Can’t beat yourself up too much about one game.”

Clark’s miscues included six bad-pass turnovers and one travelling call. Connecticut scored 29 points off Indiana’s 25 total turnovers.

Indiana coach Christie Sides said, “Caitlin was able to get her some looks, able to knock them down. Our spacing was not great. Connecticut came in and punched us in the mouth tonight. We’ll be in the gym tomorrow watching a lot of video trying to figure out how not to turn the ball over 25 times.”

Clark connected with Aliyah Boston to tally an assist on the game’s opening possession. But the rookie also picked up two early fouls and sat for most of the final 4:51 of the period.

Clark’s first WNBA basket came on a driving layup midway through the second after an 0-for-4 start. Her first professional 3-pointer was a catch-and-shoot play from the left wing to cut the deficit to single digits with 30.1 seconds before halftime, but Connecticut eventually took a 49-39 edge to the locker room.

Clark hit a 29-foot triple and Erica Wheeler added five points in an 8-2 Fever spurt early in the third quarter to trim their deficit to 53-47. That’s as close as they would get, as Bonner and Thomas combined for the next six points.

Bonner’s three-point play at the 6:37 mark of the fourth quarter made it 75-59 Sun. Clark made her third 3 on the ensuing possession, but Harris answered with one for Connecticut and the Fever never threatened again.

May 14, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) scores her first regular season basket against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Caitlin Clark scored her first regular season basket against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter [David Butler II/USA Today Sports via Reuters]

An unprecedented flood of interest in women’s basketball has followed Clark from her record-smashing college career at Iowa to the WNBA. The nearly 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena is sold out for Clark’s debut, and the broadcast will include player mics and roving cameras for “a WNBA Finals-level production setup.”

Ahead of the game, Clark was simply trying to soak in the moment.

“This is kind of what you worked for and dreamed of, and now you gotta put your jersey on for the first real time and go out there and play,” Clark said. “… More than anything, I’m ready for the challenge.”

The 3-point sharpshooter broke the all-time Division I scoring record, men’s or women’s, and guided Iowa to the national championship game.

Source: News Agencies