Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut becomes her ‘Welcome to the W’ moment thanks to

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Welcome to the W, Caitlin Clark.

In her WNBA debut Tuesday night, the best scorer in NCAA Division I history tallied an unorthodox double double — 20 points and 10 turnovers. On the one hand, she scored the second-most most points in a player’s first game with the Indiana Fever, and she tied the league mark with four threes in Game 1 of her career. And on the other hand, she committed 10 turnovers, the most ever in a player’s debut since the league began in 1997.

The early struggles to simply not cough up the ball isn’t what Clark and the Fever had in mind for their season opener, a 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun. As a team, the Fever committed 25 turnovers, and Sun made Indiana pay by scoring 29 points off of those miscues.

“It was physical,” said Clark after the game, learning quickly that the calls she might have been used to getting — or perhaps even getting away with -– at Iowa were not going to fly in the WNBA. “Just expecting physicality was the biggest thing. Like there’s no calls you’re gonna get. The [defense] is going to get those calls, it is what it is.”

Not only was the notoriously aggressive Connecticut Sun defense wearing Clark and the Fever down, they also drew four fouls on Clark alone. “Obviously it wasn’t like the best start in the first half and myself getting into foul trouble,” she added.

Things opened up for Clark later in the game and she finished with a respectable 20 points, but she struggled with efficiency. Clark went 5 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 11 from the perimeter.

After the loss, Fever head coach Christie Sides criticized her teams ability to get offense going.

“We got to have people coming back to the ball and then attacking getting in the paint,” Sides said. The Sun outscored the Fever on points in the paint, 32 to 28 and 15 to six in the second-chance points department. “We just weren’t able to get down to yield tonight at all. If we could have gotten our feet in the paint and collapsed their defense, we would have been able to, you know, get some of our shooters. We just didn’t get that.”

There won’t be much time to make adjustments. On Thursday, the Fever will host last season’s MVP Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty, who reached the WNBA Finals and were the Commissioner’s Cup champs. Sides will rely heavily on film to keep her team sharp for their opening stretch of seven games in 12 days, which will be yet another learning curve for Clark.

“I thought it took me a little while to settle into the game,” Clark said. “I felt the second half was a lot better … but just getting more comfortable … that’s just going to come with experience.”

Leave a Comment