Taurasi addressed her earlier comments, reiterating that it’s normal for college stars to need time to adjust to the professional level. “It’s going to take time,” she warned Clark.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA career has had a rocky start. The NCAA’s all-time leading scorer has experienced historic losses in her first two regular-season games with the Indiana Fever. The team has set a record for the largest combined deficit in a franchise’s first two games, losing by a total of 57 points.

For many, Clark’s struggles are surprising, but WNBA legend Diana Taurasi anticipated this outcome. Taurasi previously predicted that Clark would face challenges early in her career due to the physicality of the WNBA, and so far, she has been proven correct.

On Friday, Taurasi addressed her earlier comments, reiterating that it’s normal for college stars to need time to adjust to the professional level. “It’s going to take time,” she warned Clark.

Taurasi also clarified that her comments were not intended to criticize Clark but to highlight the inevitable learning curve for any player transitioning from college to the pros.

“Look, I only said it because, when I watch games – you talk to any professional athlete – you just look at what will they look like as a pro? Right? You watch college football, college baseball, college hockey, college basketball, and we’re just so cemented in the pros that that’s the way I look at the game: How will it translate? And it’s going to translate but, like any college quarterback, it’s going to take time,” she added.

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) looks on against the Chicago Sky during the second half of game two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center.© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Diana Taurasi is right. Caitlin Clark has some learning to do. Few, if any, rookies step into a professional sport and dominate right away. It takes time.

The big challenge for Clark at the moment is keeping a good mindset. She’s clearly been bothered by both her’s and the team’s performance through two WNBA games. She must take things one day at a time and take care of her mental health.

Clark and the Fever rematch vs. Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty on Saturday.

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) dribbles the ball down court, Thursday, May 16, 2024, during the Indiana Fever home opener game against the New

Diana Taurasi says Caitlin Clark’s game is ‘going to translate’ after predicting her early struggles

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Diana Taurasi received a lot of flak for daring to suggest Caitlin Clark would have to go through a transition period in the WNBA. She also wasn’t wrong.

Two games into Clark’s career, the former Iowa star is looking like … a 22-year-old playing against fully grown professionals only a month and a half after wrapping up the college season. The Indiana Fever are 0-2, with neither game being particularly close, while Clark is shooting 30.4% from the field with 13 turnovers.

As Taurasi said last month, Clark’s in a position where she’s going to have give herself some grace as a rookie facing unprecedented expectations.

Taurasi spoke about Clark again Friday during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7, noting that her previous comments were taken out of context and endorsing the idea Clark’s game will translate:

“You know these days, everything takes a life of their own,” Taurasi told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Friday. “Every little snippet, every little comment, any quote taken out of context. Look, I only said it because when I watch games — and I’m sure when you talk to any professional athlete — you think about what they’ll look like as a pro.

“How will it translate? It’s going to translate. Like any college quarterback, it’s going to take time.”

Clark’s responsibilities are especially demanding among the WNBA’s much-anticipated rookie class. She joined a team that struggled enough last year to land the No. 1 overall pick and was immediately designated as their primary ball-handler, a notoriously difficult position for rookies to immediately acclimate. Facing two of the WNBA’s top teams, the Connecticut Sun and New York Liberty, in her first two games didn’t help.

As Taurasi explained, being a professional is hard even when you’re an elite player:

“I still don’t feel comfortable,” the 21-year-veteran Taurasi said, speaking on the physicality of the WNBA. “It’s an uncomfortable league. It’s physical, it’s a grind. You never feel comfortable. You feel used to the things around you (as you play more). At the same time, she’s in an interesting position where she’s played on the ball her whole career. Sometimes you have to play off the ball, sometimes that’s the solution.”

It won’t get much easier for Clark anytime soon, as her next two games are repeat dates with the Liberty and Sun.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 14: Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury jokes around with Chelsea Gray #12 of the Las Vegas Aces on her bench in the fourth quarter of their game at Michelob ULTRA Arena on May 14, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Aces defeated the Mercury 89-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Diana Taurasi has been blunt about Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The line from Taurasi that got everyone’s attention, and splashed against no shortage of social media feeds, was “reality is coming.”

The quote came from an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt alongside UConn and Team USA teammate Sue Bird and sounds harsh — until you hear the rest of the quote. Then it sounds fairly prescient:

“Reality is coming. There’s levels to this thing and that’s just life. We all went through it. You see it on the NBA side, and you’re going to see it on this side where you look superhuman playing against 18-year-olds, but you’re going to come with some grown women who have been playing professional basketball for a long time.

“Not saying that it’s not going to translate, because when you’re great at what you do, you’re just going to get better, but there is going to be a transition period where you’re going to have to give yourself some grace as a rookie. It might take a little bit longer for some people.”

It should also be noted the context was Van Pelt saying, “Camilla [Kardoso] is coming, Caitlin is coming.” Taurasi was talking about how the rookie class would adjust to the WNBA in general.

Taurasi received more attention by saying she would draft UConn star Paige Bueckers over Clark (maybe not a surprise given her alma mater) during the Final Four and saying that “the new fans are really sensitive these days” in the aftermath.

Hearing this kind of stuff shouldn’t be a surprise from anyone familiar with the famously blunt Taurasi.

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