Women’s basketball phenom Caitlin Clark struggles during professional debut

Women’s basketball phenom Caitlin Clark struggled during her professional debut on Tuesday night. Clark’s Indiana Fever was blown out in her team’s 2024 WNBA opener and lost to the Connecticut Sun, 92-71.

As the number one draft pick in the WNBA last month and the all-time leading scorer in women’s college basketball, Caitlin Clark’s performance was closely watched. She struggled to score in the first half, but rallied in the second, finishing with a team-high 20 points and three assists. However, she also had a game-high 10 turnovers.

Clark had a rough night shooting, connecting on only five of 15 shots, including hitting only four of 11 three-point shots.

Despite her struggles, while disappointed, Clark remained optimistic about the future. She categorized her first game as a learning experience. 

“I’m disappointed, and nobody likes to lose, but I don’t think you can beat yourself up too much about one game,” Clark said. “I don’t think that’s going to help this team. Just learn from it and move on.”

Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides was encouraged by what she saw from Clark on Tuesday. She also said her team had a lot of work to do to improve. 

“Caitlin was able to get her some looks, able to knock them down. Our spacing was not great,” Sides said. “Connecticut came in and punched us in the mouth tonight. 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 is widely viewed as the main reason for the recent renaissance in women’s basketball. While at the University of Iowa, Clark’s games drew record attendance and ratings. Her popularity seemed to follow her to the WNBA. Tuesday’s game in Connecticut was an away game for Clark’s Indiana Fever. However, ESPN reported that Tuesday’s Connecticut Sun home opening game was a sellout for the first time since 2003. 

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