How did Caitlin Clark do in WNBA debut? Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun highlights

How did Caitlin Clark do in WNBA debut? Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun highlights

UNCASVILLE — It was Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut, but really, the night belonged to Alyssa Thomas.

The 11th-year veteran for Connecticut reminded everyone why she was in MVP contention last season as she recorded her 12th career triple-double, scoring 13, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out 13 assists, as the Connecticut Sun cruised to a 92-71 win over the Indiana Fever.

Clark finished with 20 points but it took the rookie some time to get going, and she shot just 5-of-15 from the field. The top pick in the 2024 draft also threw the ball away 10 times, a stat that’s sure to nag at her — and definitely not the type of double-double she wanted to record.

How did Caitlin Clark do in WNBA debut? Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun highlights

Connecticut’s DeWanna Bonner tied Clark for the game’s high scorer, with 20, while DiJonai Carrington and Ty Harris scored 16 each for the Sun. Connecticut forced the Fever into 25 turnovers, which the Sun turned into 29 points.

The Fever, which had the top pick in the WNBA Draft the last two years (they selected Aliyah Boston in 2023) missed the playoffs last season and have won just 43 games the last five seasons. The hope is that Clark will lift them into the postseason, but Tuesday night was a reminder that this team has a long way to go.

Clark makes her home debut Thursday vs. the New York Liberty.

How Connecticut Sun stifled Caitlin Clark

DiJonai Carrington knew early on that she’d draw the assignment of guarding Caitlin Clark, the top pick of the 2024 WNBA Draft.

And while she did a tremendous job — Clark scored a game-high-tying 20 points, but it took her a long time to get going and she scored a lot when the game was out of hand — her teammates didn’t want her thinking too highly of herself.

“To take on that job, we’re proud of her,” Sun star Alyssa Thomas said after Connecticut’s win. Then she turned to Carrington with a warning. “But don’t get too big-headed.”

How did Caitlin Clark do in WNBA debut? Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun highlights

It was a fun, lighthearted moment in a celebratory press conference. Carrington, one of the most improved and best sixth players in the league last year, moved into a starting role this season for Connecticut. She was great at both ends Tuesday night, scoring 16 points, grabbing five rebounds and snagging two steals in the Sun’s win.

One of those steals came just before halftime, when she picked Clark’s pocket and raced to the other end for a score.

It was nothing Connecticut coach Stephanie White hasn’t seen before.

“She does a lot of things in practice that show us she’s an elite defender,” White said. “But I tell her, you’ve gotta be an elite decision-making defender, and tonight she was … that’s part of growing into a starting role, and that’s gonna continue to be her challenge but she’s ready for a challenge.

“She knew (tonight) was an opportunity for her, and she’s taken ownership of it.”

How did Caitlin Clark do in WNBA debut? Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun highlights

Final: Connecticut Sun 92, Indiana Fever 71

Sun star Alyssa Thomas recorded a triple-double (13-10-13) to help Connecticut cruise past Indiana 92-71 in Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut.

Caitlin Clark stats

Clark scored 20 points, tied for the game high, on 5-for-15 shooting (4-for-11 from 3). She had 10 turnovers, though, while recording just three assists. She had two steals and committed four fouls.

Sun’s Alyssa Thomas records triple-double in season opener

A new WNBA season, another Alyssa Thomas triple-double.

In her first game of the 2024 season, Thomas recorded the impressive stat line with 3:30 to play, when she grabbed her 10th rebound of the night. She also has 13 points and 13 assists, and the Sun have an 81-67 lead.

It is Thomas’ 12th career triple-double, including playoffs. (All other WNBA players have combined for 21 total in the regular season.) In 2023, Thomas set a new league record for both double-doubles (28) and single-season assists (316). The 32-year-old is a four-time WNBA All-Star.

How did Caitlin Clark do in WNBA debut? Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun highlights

Caitlin Clark heating up

Caitlin Clark is starting to feel it.

After struggling for much of the game, turning over the ball a game-high eight times and shooting inefficiently, Clark found a rhythm as the Indiana Fever attempted to chip away at the Connecticut Sun’s fourth-quarter lead.

Clark hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter and got to the line for a pair of free throws on another possession. Inefficient or not, she was tied with the Sun’s DeWanna Bonner with a game-high 20 points as the Fever trailed 81-67 with 3:29 left.

End of third quarter: DeWanna Bonner moves up WNBA’s all-time scoring list

It’s been a great day for DeWanna Bonner, who midway through the third quarter moved up to fifth on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list with 6,897 points. Bonner has 16 so far tonight, and her team has a 65-57 lead on Indiana at the end of the third quarter.

Bonner, 36, is in her 14th WNBA season, and her fifth with Connecticut (she previously played for Phoenix, helping the Mercury to two WNBA championships). Based on her production — last season she averaged 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds — you’d never guess her age.  

Meanwhile, it’s been a rough night for Caitlin Clark, who has 12 points but also eight turnovers. Yikes. (She had nine, but one got taken away on the official stats.) She’s 3-of-10 from the field, struggling against Connecticut’s length defensively; it can’t be fun to be defended by Bonner, who has switched on to Clark a couple times. The Fever have 18 turnovers total, which Connecticut has turned into 18 points.

Final: New York Liberty 85, Washington Mystics 80

It feels fitting that in the most highly anticipated WNBA season in more than 20 years, the first game of 2024 went down to the wire.

The Washington Mystics had three chances to take the lead in the final 39 seconds after blowing an eight-point lead, but the New York Liberty made every look tough and Sabrina Ionescu hit all four free throw attempts at the end, holding on for an 85-80 win.

New York’s Jonquel Jones led all scorers with 25, Betnijah Laney-Hamilton chipped in 20 and Ionescu flirted with a triple-double with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Four Mystics players scored in double figures, led by Ariel Atkins (20). Brittney Sykes had a great all-around game for Washington with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

New York next travels to Indiana to play the Fever in Caitlin Clark’s home debut on Thursday.

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