Saffron Restaurants reservation Caitlin Clark struggles early in his WNBA debut before scoring 20 points in the Fever’s loss to Connecticut

Caitlin Clark struggles early in his WNBA debut before scoring 20 points in the Fever’s loss to Connecticut


By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – The Caitlin Clark era in the WNBA has officially begun, although it got off to a slow start.
Clark went scoreless for nearly the first 15 minutes before getting more comfortable and finishing with 20 points in the Indiana Fever’s 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night.
She knows she will have to play better and has a lot to work on, but also understands that this is only the first match of her career.
“It was physical and it obviously wasn’t the best start,” Clark said. “It was just a lot of things to learn from.”
Clark said before the match that she wouldn’t get too caught up in her game in her first match.
“If something isn’t perfect, my life won’t end,” she said. “If we lose the game tonight, my life won’t end. I’m just going to learn from it and come back on Thursday and try to help us win.”
One thing Clark definitely wants to improve is her revenue. She had 10 of 25 in Indiana, many of which were unforced.
“Some unusual things, like picking up the ball and traveling, and dribbling it off my foot,” she said. “A few things you, you know, need to be more focused on.”
Clark got off to a very slow start as she missed her first four shots before finally getting on the board midway through the second period. The NCAA’s all-time scoring leader in Division I stole the ball around the foul line and drove the length of the court before putting the ball in. Clark had said before the game that she thought her first basket would come on a layup as it was a “high percentage” shot.
Clark later added two free throws and hit a three-pointer with 29.9 seconds left in the first half to finish the first 20 minutes with seven points, hitting two of her seven shot attempts.
She carried some of that momentum into the third quarter when she scored five of her points in an attempt to recover the fever, but it just wasn’t enough.
“We have to help her, it’s better to get back on the ball,” said Fever coach Christie Sides. “We worked on that several times this week. We have to do our best to get someone back on the ball.”
Before her first basket, Clark struggled and got into trouble early. Her first shot was a drive to the basket that bounced hard off the glass and into the hands of Aliyah Boston for a putback. Clark missed a runner in the lane, then her 3 from the left wing just came out. She did have an assist on one basket and threw a nifty behind-the-back pass to teammate Boston, but last season’s Rookie of the Year was called for a traveling foul.
Meanwhile, Clark was called for two fouls on the defensive end. The second drew loud cheers from the sold-out crowd. The crowd gave the No. 1 pick in the draft a loud ovation when she was announced during the pregame introduction.
Before the game, Clark admitted she was looking forward to her WNBA debut. It was one of four games on the league’s opening night to conclude the WNBA’s 28th season. New York, second in the WNBA Finals, rallied to defeat Washington 85-80 to start the night.
She was stuck in the hotel most of the day and had to wait to get on the field when her team arrived nearly 2 1/2 hours before tipoff.
“I just want to go out and play,” she said. ‘I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. Still, this is exciting. This is fun. … There’s just a different buzz in the air.”
Even before she played a WNBA game, Clark made her mark in the pros. The league draft had record viewership and her No. 22 Indiana Fever jerseys flew off the shelves. There were hundreds of fans milling around the arena in Clark jerseys and T-shirts.
Three WNBA teams have already moved their games to larger arenas to meet demand for tickets to see her play. Her Connecticut debut is a sellout — the Sun’s first sellout in a season opener since they played their first game at Mohegan Sun Arena in 2003 after moving from Orlando. There is also a huge media turnout with almost four times as many entries for this game as for a normal Sun match.
This was the second sold-out crowd Clark played in front of in her extremely young WNBA career. Her preseason game in Dallas was also sold out. More than 13,000 fans also showed up for her only preseason home game.
Clark’s home debut will be Thursday when the Fever host the New York Liberty.
“Our preseason competition was great, doing it in real life will be a lot of fun; it will be loud,” Clark said. “Use the environment to our advantage.”