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Caitlin Clark scores 20 in the first WNBA game, but Indiana loses to Connecticut

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Caitlin Clark’s WNBA career officially started on the road with the Indiana Fever’s 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun in the regular season opener in Uncasville, Connecticut.

DeWanna Bonner climbed onto the all-time leading scorers list with 20 points and the Sun took advantage of Clark’s error-prone debut on Tuesday.

Clark, who was selected No. 1 overall after a record-breaking college career, posted a team-high 20 points and three assists but committed 10 turnovers and four fouls. She shot 5-for-15 from the floor, including 4-for-11 from 3-point range.

“Disappointed and no one likes to lose, that’s the way it is,” Clark said after the game.

“You can’t beat yourself too much over one match.”

Clark’s miscues included six bad pass turnovers and one traveling call. Connecticut scored 29 fewer points than Indiana’s 25 total turnovers.

Indiana coach Christie Sides said, “Caitlin was able to get her some looks and knock them down. Our distance between us was not great. Connecticut came in and punched us in the mouth tonight. We’ll watch a lot of videos in the gym tomorrow trying to figure out how not to spin the ball 25 times.”

Clark connected with Aliyah Boston to provide an assist on the game’s opening possession. But the rookie also picked up two early fouls and sat for most of the final 4:51 of the period.

Clark’s first WNBA basket came on a driving layup midway through the second after an 0-for-4 start. Her first professional 3-pointer was a catch-and-shoot from the left wing to cut the deficit to single digits with 30.1 seconds before halftime, but Connecticut ultimately took a 49-39 lead into the locker room.

Clark hit a 29-foot triple and Erica Wheeler added five points in an 8-2 Fever spurt early in the third quarter to cut their deficit to 53-47. That’s as close as they could get, as Bonner and Thomas combined for the next six points.

Bonner’s three-point play at 6:37 of the fourth quarter made it 75-59 Sun. Clark made her third 3 on the ensuing possession, but Harris answered with one for Connecticut and the Fever never threatened again.

May 14, 2024;  Uncasville, Connecticut, USA;  Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) scores her first regular season basket against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter at Mohegan Sun Arena.  Mandatory credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Caitlin Clark scored her first regular season basket against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter (David Butler II/USA Today Sports via Reuters)

An unprecedented interest in women’s basketball has followed Clark from her record-breaking college career at Iowa to the WNBA. The nearly 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena is sold out for Clark’s debut, and the broadcast will feature player microphones and roving cameras for “a WNBA Finals-level production setup.”

Before the game, Clark tried to just enjoy the moment.

“This is what you’ve worked for and dreamed of, and now for the first time you have to put on your jersey and go out and play,” Clark said. “…More than anything, I am ready for the challenge.”

The three-point marksman broke the all-time record in Division I, men’s or women’s, and guided Iowa to the national championship game.

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