Caitlin Clark Double-Doubles With TOs in Messy WNBA Debut

Clark set a WNBA record with 10 turnovers in her first-ever pro game

Caitlin Clark of the Fever reacts after being called for a foul.
Caitlin Clark's debut with the Fever did not go how she would have liked.
Elsa/Getty Images

Hours before the reigning NBA MVP scored 40 points and dished out 13 assists without a single turnover to put the defending champion Nuggets one win away from returning to the NBA Finals, the top bet (though not the favorite) to win WNBA MVP made her debut and began her much-hyped pro basketball career with a double-double of her own. But unfortunately for the Indiana Fever and rookie superstar Caitlin Clark, her double-double was with points (20) and turnovers (10), and it came in a lopsided 92-71 defeat to the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun casino. Clark shot 33% from the field (4-11 from 3-point range) and led her team in minutes (32), fouls (four) and points. Her 10 turnovers, the most ever in a player’s first WNBA game, also led the Fever.

Just 22, Clark, who was held scoreless in the first quarter before getting the first points of her professional career on a layup with 5:23 left in the second quarter, looked like a rookie. Seeing that’s what she is, perhaps that should have been expected. Sportsbooks certainly did, as her over/under for points was pegged at 20.5, a win for Vegas in the Fever’s loss.

“I know the outside world thinks I’m gonna do some amazing things, but that might take some time,” Clark said, following the defeat. “And if things aren’t perfect right away or one game’s not as amazing as I want it to be, give yourself grace, continue to learn, continue to get better from it. I’m disappointed, and nobody likes to lose, 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. Just learn from it and move on.”

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While the world was watching Clark and the Fever go down in flames at Mohegan Sun, Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson helped get her team’s title defense started with a win as she double-doubled with 30 points and 13 rebounds (instead of 20 points and 10 turnovers) to go along with five assists and three blocks. The two-time champions held off a late rally and beat the Phoenix Mercury 89-80.

In the days leading up to Tuesday night’s games, Wilson spoke to The Associated Press about what she perceives as a major factor in Clark’s popularity and marketability. (She recently signed two major endorsement deals.)

“I think it’s a huge thing. I think a lot of people may say it’s not about Black and white, but to me, it is,” Wilson said. “It really is because you can be top-notch at what you are as a Black woman, but yet maybe that’s something that people don’t want to see. They don’t see it as marketable, so it doesn’t matter how hard I work. It doesn’t matter what we all do as Black women, we’re still going to be swept underneath the rug. That’s why it boils my blood when people say it’s not about race because it is.”

Clark and the Fever’s next game will be on Thursday against the New York Liberty. Wilson and the Aces will return to the court on Saturday for a game with the Los Angeles Aces.

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