Fever beats Sky and questions ‘unacceptable’ foul on Caitlin Clark

Fever beats Sky and questions ‘unacceptable’ foul on Caitlin Clark

INDIANAPOLIS — No. 1 WNBA draft pick Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever secured their first home win and second of the season with a 71-70 victory over the Chicago Sky and fellow rookie star Angel Reese Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

After dwelling on defense amid struggles early in the season, Indiana (2-8) did its best on that end of the floor, overcoming shooting woes (39.1% from the field) while limiting Chicago at 40.6% and only 2-of-12 from the 3-point arc.

“We were connected more defensively than we have been all year,” Indiana coach Christie Sides said.

Reserve Chennedy Carter had a game-high 19 points for the Sky, but also drew attention with a play late in the third quarter when she shoulder-checked Clark before the ball went in. The sanction was not reviewed and was considered a common offense.

When asked about the play afterward, Carter said “next question” and declined to address the foul.

“It is what it is,” Clark said. “I feel like I’m at the point where you accept it and don’t retaliate… I’m trying not to let that bother me.”

Sides said the Fever have been sending plays in which Clark has been “hit” to the league for review. He said the team will probably do it again after Carter’s absence.

Later Saturday, addressing the league in a post on “.

In his postgame interview on Saturday, Sides praised Clark for maintaining his composure throughout this season’s physical play.

“We’re going to continue to send these possessions to the league and these plays, and hopefully they’ll start, you know, better analyzing some of the things that we see happening, or that we think are happening.” Sides said. “I’m just happier that Caitlin handled it the way she did. You know, it’s hard to keep getting hit like she does and not be rewarded with free throws or fouls. She’s continued to fight through that. I appreciate that. really, really proud of her for doing that.”

Saturday’s game served as both teams’ first game in the Commissioner’s Cup, the WNBA’s seasonal tournament.

The Fever led for most of the contest, leading by as many as nine with 3:36 left before Sky used a late run to make it a one-point game with 1:35 remaining. Aliyah Boston’s clutch and-1 with 1:19 was the difference. Chicago’s Marina Mabrey missed a critical free throw with 6.1 seconds left.

“I’m proud of our group,” said Clark, who finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. “I thought earlier in the season, at this point, that if we had shot like that, we wouldn’t have won the game because we didn’t have that resilience and we would let that affect the defensive end for us. So we’re just proud of ourselves. We were very brave “On defense, even when they were making runs, we always found a way to respond.”

Clark became the first WNBA rookie to record 150 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists in a 10-game span.

Kamilla Cardoso, the Sky’s third pick, returned from a preseason shoulder injury to make her WNBA debut, scoring 11 points and grabbing six rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.

Two months ago, Clark and Cardoso met in the national title game, which Cardoso’s South Carolina team won. Cardoso is a former Boston college teammate of the Fever (who finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks) and played alongside former SEC foe Reese for the first time since they were drafted by Chicago in April. Clark and Reese’s battles while at Iowa and LSU, respectively, garnered national headlines and record ratings and helped spur a surge in interest and growth in women’s basketball.

Saturday’s game was the Fever’s 10th in 19 days, and they will travel to play in New York on Sunday night. Their 11 games in 20 days is the most in a span since the 2011 Washington Mystics endured a similar schedule. After New York, Indiana is off until Friday.

“Every time you win, everything gets a lot better,” Sides said. “These guys are clawing and fighting. And that’s all I can ask them to do. They did it all the way tonight, and they’ll do it again tomorrow regardless of the competition.”

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