Caitlin Clark begins her WNBA career, Fever struggling. Clark has struggled with early fouls and turnovers, but she’s hit three 3-pointers

Caitlin Clark’s debut WNBA game live updates: Can Indiana Fever make a fourth-quarter comeback against Connecticut Sun?

Caitlin Clark's debut WNBA game live updates: Can Indiana Fever make a fourth-quarter comeback against Connecticut Sun?

Caitlin Clark begins her WNBA career, Fever struggling

Just five weeks after finishing her college career, Caitlin Clark made her professional debut Tuesday as the Indiana Fever faced the Connecticut Sun in a WNBA season opener. The Sun led the Fever by double digits in the fourth quarter. Clark has struggled with early fouls and turnovers, but she’s hit three 3-pointers.

Clark, the No. 1 pick in last month’s draft, averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game in two preseason games. She and Aliyah Boston, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, will lead the Fever against a Sun team projected to be in the WNBA’s upper echelon.

Required reading

WNBA 2024 expert debate: How far can Caitlin Clark take the Indiana Fever?
How have top WNBA draft picks fared in their debuts?
WNBA preseason power rankings: Can anyone catch the Las Vegas Aces?

Tough defender on Clark

Alyssa Thomas is now guarding Caitlin Clark. That’s a real Welcome to the WNBA matchup for the rookie guard.

Can the Fever come back?

Indiana is staying within striking distance entering the fourth quarter, which should be a familiar sight for those who followed the Fever during the 2023 season. They played more clutch minutes than any team in the WNBA (defined as being within 5 points in the final five minutes), going 10-16 in those clutch games.

Carrington to locker room with possible cramps

DiJonai Carrington, who has 16 points for the Sun, headed to the locker room with what appears to be a leg cramp.

Bonner moves up scoring ladder

With her last basket, DeWanna Bonner just moved into fifth all-time in WNBA career points. The sellout crowd here just showered her with an ovation and she made a heart out of her two hands to acknowledge them. Moments before fans gave Bonner a moment of appreciation, she let out a roar after Fever coach Christie Sides called timeout. Indiana had cut Connecticut’s lead to 6, but the Sun responded to get it back to 12.

 

Clark up to 8 turnovers

Here’s a part of the box score people probably didn’t predict heading into the night: With 5:29 to play in the third quarter, Clark has as many turnovers (8) as shot attempts (8). She just picked up a third foul, as well.

Clark with 6 turnovers but Fever hanging in

Connecticut coach Stephanie White has called an early timeout, less than three minutes into the third quarter. Erica Wheeler just hit a 3-pointer to slash the Sun’s lead to nine points. Clark is up to 6 turnovers, but the Fever are doing a good job hanging in.

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A look at Clark’s 3

Clark hit her first 3-pointer.

Sun lead Fever 48-32 at half

Halftime here in Mohegan Sun Arena. The Sun lead the Fever 49-39. Indiana looks like a team that is playing in its first game of the season, and it’s first game together. They have 8 turnovers, have struggled to convert fastbreak opportunities and are shooting only 40 percent from the field.

It took Clark until midway through the second quarter to finally get on the scoresheet, but she ended the half with seven points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. She assisted Aliyah Boston on Indiana’s first offensive trip of the game, but hasn’t recorded an assist since. Clark also has a game-high 5 turnovers.

Clark hits first WNBA 3-pointer

Clark has hit her first career 3-pointer, and of course it came on the left wing. She made more 3-pointers from the left wing last season at Iowa than any other location. She’s now up to 7 points.

DiJonai Carrington making case for extension

With all eyes on Clark for her debut, this game is a potentially lucrative opportunity for her primary defender, DiJonai Carrington. Carrington is currently eligible for an extension on her rookie contract, but only until tomorrow, May 15. This is a prime spotlight for Carrington to make her case for a raise on her next deal.

Indiana’s offensive struggles persist

Indiana’s offense hasn’t been great tonight, recording 7 turnovers and shooting only 42.9 percent with 1:55 to play in the first half. But Connecticut’s offense has been a key story so far. The Sun are shooting 52.4 percent from the field, including 40 percent from 3-point range. DiJonai Carrington has scored 14 points in the second quarter to give Connecticut a double-digit cushion.

A look at Clark’s first bucket

Here’s how Clark’s first WNBA basket looked.

Clark scores

Clark said she wanted the first basket of her WNBA career to be something high percentage, and she made it happen with a layup in transition. She created the fast break by stealing a pass from Alyssa Thomas and then using a hesitation dribble to get past DeWanna Bonner for the score.

Clark’s slow start continues

Clark clapped her hands loudly after missing her last 3-pointer. It’s been a slow start for the No. 1 pick so far. She’s missed all four of her shot attempts and has two fouls.

Stars shine in new CarMax ad

As a Changemaker partner of the WNBA, CarMax is investing in the league by putting more of its stars on national platforms. The company had a viral set of commercials with Sue Bird, Candace Parker, and Steph Curry a year ago but has eschewed the NBA athletes in favor of bringing on A’ja Wilson and Sabrina Ionescu for its new spot. Ionescu is sporting her personal Nike collection, and as the CarMax partnership continues, one has to imagine Wilson will also get some airtime for her future Nike line.

Play: Video

 

Clark scoreless after first quarter

The Sun lead the Fever 19-13 after the first quarter. Sun guard Ty Harris leads all scorers with nine points, while Fever forward NaLyssa Smith has seven points for the Fever.

Clark went scoreless in the first quarter, missing her first three shot attempts. She took a seat with 4:51 to play in the quarter and only checked back in with four seconds to play for Indiana’s final possession.

Ty Harris hits two 3s

One player who looks ready for the season for the Sun — Ty Harris. The 5-foot-10 guard was a significant 3-point threat during last year’s postseason. She’s provided the Sun with some immediate spacing tonight, having already made two 3-pointers.

Sides going to her bench early

Fever coach Christie Sides is going to her bench early in this game. Already nine players have checked in for Indiana. 2023 All-Star guard Kelsey Mitchell was among those who came off the bench, having missed the preseason with an injury.

Clark picks up second foul

Clark now has two fouls, after picking up her second making contact with Thomas on a 50-50 ball. After she did, Clark told one of the official’s, “That’s not a foul.” But the call had been made. The good news for her is that in the WNBA she gets six fouls, not five.

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