Home Sports Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever survive Chicago Sky’s late charge to earn first home win, 71-70

Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever survive Chicago Sky’s late charge to earn first home win, 71-70

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Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever survive Chicago Sky's late charge to earn first home win, 71-70

Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever survived Chicago Sky’s late attack to earn their first home win, 71-70 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — NaLyssa Smith scored 18 points and Caitlin Clark had 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists Saturday as the Indiana Fever won their first home game of the season, 71-70, over the Chicago Sky.

Indiana (2-8) snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 1-4 at home on Pride Day and in the Commissioner’s Cup opener. The Fever closed with Erica Wheeler running out the final 6.6 seconds of the clock before passing to Clark, who tossed the ball into the air.

Clark turned the tables on two of his college rivals: former LSU star Angel Reese and former South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso, each of whom beat Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes in the final two games of the national championship of Division I.

Chennedy Carter scored 19 points and six assists to lead the Sky (3-4). Marina Mabrey finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Reese finished with eight points and 13 rebounds while Cardoso had 11 points and six rebounds in his professional regular-season debut.

Dana Evans had a chance to force overtime but missed the first of two free throws with 6.6 seconds left. Chicago never got the ball back and finished the game on a 12-2 run.

But this contest was about much more than scores, statistics, or seasonal tournament results.

It featured three of the top seven picks in April’s draft: three players in a generational draft class, each capable of becoming the new face of the WNBA. She also capped a week in which Fever fans got an up-close look at the top four picks in this year’s draft and five of the top seven at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

But it was the rematches involving Clark, a two-time NCAA Player of the Year and two-time Division I national runner-up, against Cardoso, a two-time national champion with South Carolina, and especially Reese, a 2023 national champion with LSU, that captivated the crowd. Cardoso had not played since he injured his right shoulder during a preseason game on May 3.

As Fever coach Christie Sides attempted to highlight the rivalry between the two Midwest teams, the loud pregame ovation for Clark and a handful of boos that were quickly drowned out by applause for Reese during pregame introductions typified the match.

Cardoso entered for the first time midway through the first quarter and made an immediate impact. He had six points and four rebounds during a six-minute period in which the Sky erased a 22-16 deficit, took the lead and kept the momentum going to complete a 15-4 run after Cardoso left midway through the second quarter. .

Clark helped spark Indiana’s response, a 9-0 run just before halftime, to give the Fever a 35-31 lead.

Chicago rallied to tie the score at 37 early in the second half, but Indiana responded with six straight points and closed the third quarter with a 54-49 lead. The Sky rallied again late after falling into a 68-58 deficit, but couldn’t quite come back.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Sky: Take a quick break before hosting the New York Liberty on Tuesday.

Fever: Visit New York for the second time this season on Sunday.

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