Caitlin Clark struggles in WNBA debut defeat

Indiana Fever Caitlin Clark  WNBA

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark ( 22) in the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Women’s basketball sensation Caitlin Clark scored 20 points but gave up 10 turnovers on a tough WNBA debut as her Indiana Fever team fell to a 92-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.

Clark, NCAA Division I basketball’s all-time leading scorer, has brought unprecedented attention to women’s basketball with her college career which rewrote the record books and shattered attendance and television viewing records.

Indiana took her as the number one draft pick, maintaining the buzz around Clark which had peaked with her run to the national championship game with Iowa.

READ: WNBA feeling ‘Caitlin Clark effect’ as season tips off

The hype in the build-up was always going to be hard to live up to, but Clark and her team endured a tough night against a strong Suns defense.

“There’s a lot to learn from, it’s the first one,” Clark told a post-game press conference.”There’s going to be good ones, there’s going to be bad ones.”

The game at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, was sold out, with courtside seats being offered for as much as $4,262 on secondary markets.

While she was making her debut on the road, it was evident from the crowd reactions that many had come just to see the star of last month’s NCAA tournament.

READ: Caitlin Clark pleased after first WNBA training camp practice

Clark’s 20 points made her the Fever’s top scorer and came on 5-of-15 shooting, 4-of-11 on three-pointers and 6-of-6 on free throws. She also had three assists, two steals and 10 turnovers.

Clark struggled early in the game, picking up two touch fouls which saw her head to the bench prematurely.

Her first points did not come until there was 5:24 remaining in the second quarter, although she found her flow later with 13 second-half points.

“I would have liked to have played a little better tonight. Obviously getting into foul trouble and then you are going to sit on the bench and try to come back and get a little bit of a flow,” she said.

“Obviously too many turnovers — that’s not going to get the job done. There’s a lot of things to learn from.

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

The Sun’s star forward Alyssa Thomas recorded a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.

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Clark will make her home debut in Indianapolis on Thursday against last year’s WNBA runner-up New York Liberty.