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Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever edge Angel Reese and Chicago Sky for first home win, 71-70



Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever edge Angel Reese and Chicago Sky for first home win, 71-70

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark tossed the ball excessive into the air as time expired Saturday. Veteran guard Kelsey Mitchell simply began clapping.

Lastly, after 4 consecutive residence losses, the Fever have been celebrating.

Within the newest matchup between school rivals Clark and Angel Reese, and on a day former South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso made her regular-season professional debut in entrance of one other sellout crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Clark finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and 6 assists in a 71-70 victory over the Chicago Sky on Pleasure Day.

“It was nice, and I believe it got here at a very nice time,” Clark stated after successful the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup recreation. “Our followers have been superior. They have been energized. You already know we actually didn’t shoot the ball nicely in any respect collectively as a workforce and you realize generally that’s onerous for the followers, like that’s what they arrive to see. However I believe they actually appreciated our nice protection tonight.”

Clark had loads of assist from her teammates even earlier than Marina Mabrey missed the primary of two free throws for the Sky with 6.6 seconds left to make it a one-point recreation earlier than Clark’s ball toss.

Mitchell scored 18 points, NaLyssa Smith had 17 factors and 9 rebounds whereas Kristy Wallace and Aliyah Boston every scored 10. Boston, Cardoso’s former teammate at South Carolina, additionally had eight rebounds because the Fever (2-8) snapped a three-game shedding streak.

This contest was about far more than scores or stats, although.

It featured three of the highest seven picks from this yr’s draft — three gamers in a generational rookie class who may all turn into the brand new faces of the WNBA — and every week by which Fever followers have been handled to seeing every of the highest 4 draft picks and 5 of the highest seven.

This time, Clark bought the higher hand on two of the ladies who prevented her from successful an NCAA championship even as she took a shoulder shot from Chennedy Carter earlier than an inbound cross throughout the third quarter. The refs referred to as it an away-from-the-ball foul.

Carter stated she wouldn’t take any questions on Clark.

“I wasn’t anticipating it,” Clark stated initially. “It’s what it’s. It’s a bodily recreation. Go make the free throw and execute on offense, and I really feel like that’s sort of what we did.”

Nonetheless, the rematches between Clark, a two-time NCAA participant of the yr and two-time Division I nationwide runner-up, towards Cardoso, who gained her second title with the Gamecocks in March, and particularly Reese, who led LSU to the 2023 nationwide title, captivated the gang.

Reese didn’t take questions from reporters following the sport.

Earlier than the sport, Fever coach Christie Sides tried to play up the rivalry between the 2 Midwestern groups, however the loud pregame ovation for Clark and a smattering of boos that have been shortly drowned out by cheers for Reese throughout pregame introductions typified the showdown.

Reese completed with eight factors and 13 rebounds in her newest spherical towards Clark whereas Cardoso played for the first time since injuring her proper shoulder in a preseason recreation Could 3. Cardoso had 11 factors and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes however was referred to as for a foul that led to Boston’s three-point play with 1:19 left, which proved the distinction.

“First recreation again and he or she performed fairly nicely, too,” stated Carter, who had 19 factors and 6 assists to steer the Sky (3-4). “She hasn’t been on this place, closing the sport, so let’s give her a while.”

Marina Mabrey completed with 15 factors and 9 rebounds for Chicago.

Cardoso entered for the primary time halfway by means of the primary quarter and wasted no time making an affect. She had six factors and 4 rebounds throughout a six-minute stint by which the Sky erased a 22-16 deficit, took the lead and sustained the momentum to finish a 15-4 spurt after Cardoso departed halfway by means of the second quarter.

Clark helped ignite Indiana’s response, a 9-0 run simply earlier than halftime, to present the Fever a 35-31 lead.

Chicago charged again to tie the rating at 37 early within the second half, however Indiana answered with six straight factors and closed the third quarter with a 54-49 lead. The Sky rallied once more late after falling right into a 68-58 deficit and closed the sport on a 12-3 run — however couldn’t fairly come all the best way again.

“I assumed earlier this season if we might have shot like this, we wouldn’t have gained the sport as a result of we didn’t have that resiliency and we might have let it have an effect on our defensive play,” Clark stated. “So simply pleased with us, I assumed we have been actually gritty.”


Sky: Get a brief break earlier than internet hosting the New York Liberty on Tuesday.

Fever: Go to New York for the second time this season Sunday.


This story has been corrected to indicate that NaLyssa Smith had 17 factors, not 18, for the Fever and that Marina Mabrey, not Dana Evans, missed a free throw with 6.6 seconds remaining.



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