Caitlin Clark home debut: Star rookie struggles in blowout loss to New York Liberty

Clark had another rough shooting night in her first regular season home game

Caitlin Clark home debut: Star rookie struggles in blowout loss to New York Liberty

Caitlin Clark continued to take some rookie lumps in just the second game of her WNBA career in a 102-66 Indiana Fever loss to the New York Liberty. The No. 1 pick in the 2024 Draft was held to 9 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the first regular season game in front of her home crowd on 2-of-8 shooting from the floor.

The task was a tall one, playing against a Liberty team led by reigning WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart who scored 31 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the win.

Clark and the fever will have to regroup quickly, with their next game being the back half of a home-and-home with the Liberty in Brooklyn on Saturday night.

  • Subs are in here as New York, which returned all five starters from its finals runner-up squad, finishes off a win to move to 2-0. Clark ends her night with nine points (2-8/1-7/4-4), seven rebounds, six assists, three turnovers, one block and five fouls. It's her first game scoring fewer than 20 points since the 2022-23 season at Iowa. But she impacted the game in other ways and there were glimpses of potential for the entire team. These two will meet again on Saturday and we'll see what tinkering Sides and the crew do ahead of the rematch. Not a lot of time to work with on adjustments, which Sides said was one of her main frustrations after the loss to the Sun. Fever fall to 0-2.

  • 4Q: New York 67, Indiana 56

    Caitlin Clark re-entered to loud cheers, snags a rebound and minutes later hits her first home 3-pointer. The defense got some stops and suddenly it's an 11-point game. Clark settled the offense down on the final possession and fed another beautiful pass to Smith, but it's a little late in the clock. Clark is nearing a triple-double with nine points, seven rebounds and six assists. THAT is the kind of line that will make a difference on the game result, as we're seeing here through three quarters. It might not mean a win against the Liberty, but eventually the Fever will play teams not at the top of the table. She's only 2-6 (1-5 from 3).

  • Caitlin Clark doing Caitlin Clark things to try to pull the Fever out of a big second half deficit against the Liberty.

  • Caitlin Clark's college coaches are in the house for her first home game in Indiana

  • Caitlin Clark draws her fourth foul (another on Stewart) 29 seconds into the second half. She does get six in the W and Sides leaves her out there with Wheeler, Smith, Boston and Samuelson. AKA, today's starters.

  • Six seconds on the clock, Stewart shooting free throws, and Betnijah Laney-Hamilton was STILL all over Clark heading to the other end of the court. Some good feeds from Clark to Boston to end the quarter, but the Fever trail, 48-31. Stewart has 20 points for New York. Fever's defense can't stop her.

  • Fever take a timeout with 3:37 until the half. Indiana head coach Christie Sides giving a few starters long breaks on the bench. Boston re-entered at 5:55. Samuelson at 4:24. Mitchell also came back in. And Clark is back on the court after the timeout. She exited at 7:55.

  • 1Q: New York 25, Indiana 16

    It was a frustrating quarter from a game flow standpoint, but a much better one for Indiana and Clark than the season opener. They collectively look more settled. Clark is 1-of-4 for two points and three turnovers, but she also has three assists and three rebounds. At the pro level, scoring a lot of points isn't going to fuel wins as easy as it does on the college level (though often when she scored >40, Iowa lost). Her ability to impact the game in additional ways is key.

    Stewart is 5-11 for 11 points for New York. Sabrina Ionescu has nine. Katie Lou Samuelson has eight points for Indiana.

  • OH?! Some words between Jonquel Jones and Aliyah Boston, and it looks like a few more players became involved in the confrontation. Jones called for a foul on Boston and it's under review for a hostile act. These two teams play each other again on Saturday in Brooklyn (1 p.m. ET tip, so a very quick turnaround).

  • That little shovel pass to Katie Lou Samuelson down low is exactly the thing that Clark does well and Samuelson simply might not be ready for yet because they haven't played together much. That will clean up as the season goes on.

  • Greetings from Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis where Clark is minutes from being introduced at home for the first time. Even as fans fill in here, it's a stronger showing than last season already. Their 2023 average was 4,056 and the high was 7,356 against the Connecticut Sun in Aliyah Boston's home debut.

  • In the pregame presser before her first regular season home game, Caitlin Clark talked about her awareness of the fans who spend big money to come see her and the feeling of responsibility she's taken on since her Iowa days as the biggest star on the court.

  • Caitlin Clark is watching, Indianapolis

  • The scene in Indianapolis

  • How Caitlin Clark's debut stacks up

  • WNBA says all teams will be flying charter to games by May 21 after rough program rollout

    The WNBA's rollout of their new charter flight program didn't go as smoothly as it could have, but the situation will be made right in less than a week.

    After a number of teams have been required to take commercial flights for their first few games, a WNBA spokesperson told The Athletic on Thursday that all teams will be flying charter for their away games as of May 21. The only exceptions will be for Chicago Sky/Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun/New York Liberty games, which will be bus rides due to proximity.

    Read the full story here.

  • First home game arrival: