Monday, June 17, 2024

Caitlin Clark struggles in Fever’s loss to Liberty in wake of controversial game

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One night after their controversial game against the Chicago Sky, the Indiana Fever got blown out on the road by the New York Liberty, 104-68, on Sunday. 

And Caitlin Clark, the subject of the controversy, struggled mightily at Barclays Center during the team’s latest defeat.

Clark scored three points, shooting 1 of 10 from the field, including 1 of 7 from three-point territory. She also collected five assists, two rebounds, two steals and one block.

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Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever takes the ball out during the third quarter against the Liberty at Barclays Center in New York City on June 2, 2024. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Liberty saw their stars cook up on home court as Breanna Stewart (13 points, six rebounds, five assists), Sabrina Ionescu (16 points, six assists, six rebounds), Jonquel Jones (18 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals) and Betnijah Laney-Hamilton (20 points, five assists, two rebounds, two steals) led the way for New York.

The Fever were fresh off a tough win over the Sky, 71-70, the night before, and it wasn’t even 24 hours since controversy and tension brewed between those two squads.

Sky guard Chennedy Carter was seen hip-checking Clark during the game, and her Sky teammate, Angel Reese, clapped for the hard foul that turned into a flagrant 1 violation after the WNBA reviewed it on Sunday.

SKY’S CHENNEDY CARTER RIPS CAITLIN CLARK AFTER REFUSING TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT FOUL

After the game, Carter avoided questions about Clark, but her thoughts about the No. 1 overall pick of this year’s draft were confirmed with likes and reposted defenses of her actions on X.

Carter, then, posted on Threads Sunday where she ripped into Clark.

“& that’s that on that cause beside three point shooting what does she bring to the table man,” Carter wrote in reply to a post about her postgame press conference.

In a separate post on Threads, Carter also responded to the clip of Reese celebrating the hard foul on Clark during a timeout, saying, “my dawg fasho, got all my teammates.

Caitlin Clark fights for loose ball

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever, left, and Kayla Thornton of the New York Liberty fight for a loose ball during the first half at Barclays Center in New York City on June 2, 2024. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

Amid news the league was upgrading Carter’s foul to a flagrant, it also fined Reese $1,000 for skipping her postgame press conference. The Sky was also fined $5,000.

Clark was asked about Carter’s foul after the game, and she replied, “I wasn’t expecting it. It is what it is. It’s a physical game. Go make the free throw and execute on offense, and I feel like that’s kind of what we did.”

While Clark took the high road, her GM, Lin Dunn, and head coach Christie Sides spoke their minds.

“There’s a difference between tough defense and unnecessary – targeting actions!” Dunn wrote in a post on X. “It needs to stop! The league needs to ‘cleanup’ (sic) the c–p! That’s NOT who this league is!!”

Sides added, “I’m trying not to get fined. I’m just going to keep sending these possessions to the league and these plays. Hopefully, they’ll start to … take a better look at some of the things we see happening or we think is happening.”

Caitlin Clark frustrated

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever is shown during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Sky at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 1, 2024. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Clark fans have seemed to go after Carter on social media, singling her out for what happened on the floor, though it appeared both of them had words prior to the hip check. But Carter posted on her Instagram Story as well, saying, “I’d rather you hate me then (sic) love me and I mean that on my dead aunt.” She prefaced that by saying “I grew up with all brothers,” so she loves “the hate more than the love.”

Carter also suggested Clark flopped on the play, making the hip check look worse than it was.

Either way, Clark knows there’s a target on her back, and subsequently the Fever, entering her rookie season as she generated tons of hype and new viewership for the WNBA after her illustrious college career at Iowa.

How she responds to “welcome to the show” moments like the one Saturday is what really matters, but it wasn’t her best performance on the back-to-back against the Liberty.

Caitlin Clark exasperated on court

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever is shown during the first quarter against the Liberty at Barclays Center in New York City on June 2, 2024. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

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Despite the poor start to the season by the Fever (2-9), Clark is the second player in WNBA history to have at least 100 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists in their first 10 games, joining Ionescu in that feat. She did so after collecting 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the win over Chicago.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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