Kaitlyn Clark earned first career WNBA win after 0-5 start

Caitlin Clark left work on Friday and went to the Caitlin Clark everyone was expecting. The result: Her first career WNBA win.

The No. 1 overall draft pick shook off a slow start by making a 3-pointer for the Indiana Fever in a 78-73 win over the Los Angeles Sparks, snapping a season-opening five-game losing streak. Clark had just five points and was 0-for-7 from going deep in the game’s final minutes, which clearly didn’t affect his decision-making.

First, Clark pulled up from deep to extend his team’s lead to six points with two and a half minutes left.

May 24, 2024;  Los Angeles, California, USA;  Indiana Fever guard Kaitlin Clark (22) drives past Los Angeles Sparks guard Lexi Brown (4) during the first half at Crypto.com Arena.  Mandatory credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark earned her first WNBA win, thanks to her first WNBA boxing. (Jane Kamin-ONCIA-USA TODAY Sports)

Then she delivered real punch, making a deep putback to put LA away with 40 seconds left.

If you’re judging Clark by the numbers he put up at Iowa, he didn’t have a great game overall. He had an inefficient 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting (2-of-9 from deep), but also had a team-high 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

Of course, if you’re evaluating a freshman who immediately took over primary ball-handling duties on a team that went 13-27 last year within two months of playing a full college season, you could call that an encouraging step. A player who still has the potential to change the league.

The Fever (1-5) trailed by 11 points at halftime, but quickly clawed their way back into it thanks to a sloppy performance by the Sparks, who committed 19 turnovers. Senior Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with 18 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter to bolster the win. Aaliyah Boston, the former No. 1 pick out of Indiana, was also strong with 17 points and six rebounds.

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For the Sparks, No. 2 Cameron Brink had the best performance of his young career with 15 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks on 5-of-9 shooting. Dearica Hamby had a big game with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

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