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Caitlin Clark struggles early in WNBA debut as Indiana Fever falls to Connecticut Sun


Caitlin Clark made her WNBA debut in front of a sold-out crowd in Connecticut on Tuesday night.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA career has officially begun.

It didn’t start so well.

Clark struggled early Tuesday night in her first regular-season game with the Indiana Fever and it seemed to take a while for her to feel comfortable. She still had a team-high 20 points after coming alive in the second half, but she committed 10 turnovers. in the Fever’s season-opening 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun.

The ten turnovers were the most in a WNBA debut in league history.

After a dominant run at Iowa, Clark led a draft class that may be the best the WNBA has seen in more than a decade. Tuesday’s game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut was sold out, making it the first home opener sellout in Connecticut since 2003. The game was added to Disney+ as a streaming option for fans watching at home.

Many big names attended the game, including UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and several New England Patriots players. Clark has made a ridiculous number of bets to win MVP this season, even though historically it feels like a gamble.

“I feel like a little child. Most of all, I feel really excited,” Clark said before the game. via Alexa Philippou of ESPN. “You only get to play your first WNBA game once, so you might as well make the most of it.”

Clark’s first WNBA points came just before the middle of the second quarter. During a fast break, Clark hesitated at the three-point line and drove right past Sun star DeWanna Bonner to the rim for a layup.

Clark struggled to open the match. She went 0-for-4 from the field before her layup, and she picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter after making a huge pass to Aliyah Boston to kick off the night. As a result, she was on the bench for a longer period of time in the first quarter.

After hitting a pair of free throws later in the second quarter, Clark hit a 3-pointer. She hit a bucket over DiJonai Carrington from the wing with about 30 seconds left, briefly cutting the Sun’s lead to single digits.

Clark shot 2-for-7 from the field and was 1-for-4 from behind the arc in the first half. Carrington led the Sun with 14 points, giving them a 10-point lead at the break. Clark walked off the field with Boston, who was frustrated with the way the half was going, and the two talked all the way into the tunnel back to the locker room.

Clark’s second half went considerably better than the first, but it came too late for the Fever. She hit a three-pointer early in the third quarter with no problem and ultimately looked more like herself on the court. But every time the Fever made up the shortfall, the Sun waited for an answer. They entered the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead and immediately extended it to double figures.

The Sun opened the fourth quarter with a 13-5 deficit, which they rode to a 21-point victory. Clark went on a run of her own in the fourth quarter, where she scored eight straight points, but it made no difference.

Alyssa Thomas led the Sun with a triple-double, the ninth of her career. She had 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the win. Bonner added 20 points and six rebounds after shooting 8-of-14 from the field. Carrington, who left briefly in the second half with an apparent leg injury, had 16 points. Tyasha Harris also finished with 16 points.

Clark had three assists with her 20 points to lead the Fever. She shot 5-of-15 from the field and 4-of-11 from behind the arc. NaLyssa Smith finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. They were the only two Fever players to reach double figures in the loss. The Fever had 25 turnovers as a team.

Clark and the Fever return to action on Thursday night when they host the New York Liberty. If it’s anything like their only preseason game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Clark and the Fever will have a chance to get their first win of the season in front of another sellout crowd.