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New league, new challenge as Caitlin Clark struggles in Fever debut

Caitlin Clark, Fever tip off season against Sun

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (WISH) — It was not a fairy tale debut for Caitlin Clark. It was far from it. The Connecticut Sun’s defense overwhelmed Clark, giving her fits offensively.

She dribbled into double teams, threw errant passes, and couldn’t get her jump shot into a rhythm until late in the fourth quarter.

She totaled 20 points on 5-15 shooting from the field and hit four threes on 11 attempts from beyond the arc. The most glaring part of the box score was the turnovers. She racked up 10 turnovers and picked up just three assists.

The Fever kept the game at around a 10-point deficit throughout, but could never put together a run to get themselves into striking distance. The Sun pulled away in the fourth quarter, and the Fever lost 92-71 in their season opener.

“I’m disappointed and nobody likes to lose, like that’s how it is,” Clark said. “But I don’t think you can beat yourself up too much about one game. I don’t think that’s going to help this team.”

“Connecticut came in and they punched us in the mouth tonight,” Fever head coach Christie Sides said. “We don’t have a lot of practice time for our next one, so we’ll be in the gym tomorrow watching a lot of video, trying to figure out how not to turn the ball over 25 times.”

Clark picked up two early fouls, forcing her to come out of the game after playing just over five minutes. She would sit on the bench for almost the rest of the first quarter.

She got her first WNBA bucket with 5:24 left in the second quarter. She scored it on a crafty hesitation move in transition and glided to a right-handed layup. She would make her first WNBA three-pointer later in the quarter with just under 30 seconds left. Clark came around a screen and knocked down the catch and shoot three from the left wing, just as she did countless times at Iowa.

While the first three quarters were rough, she did get into more of a flow in the fourth quarter, where she hit two three-pointers and had eight points.

“I thought it took me a little while to settle into the game,” Clark said. “I thought the second half was a lot better, minus some of the turnovers.”

Clark’s 20 led all Fever scorers.

DeWanna Bonner lead the Sun with 20, and five of them hit double figures in scoring.

Clark and the Fever will look to bounce back and get their first win of the season on Thursday, when they return to Indianapolis for their home opener against the New York Liberty at 7 p.m.

WISH-TV is the only Indianapolis station on the road in Connecticut for the regular season opener.