Caitlin Clark lands dagger for first career WNBA win after 0-5 start

Caitlin Clark gets her first WNBA victory, thanks to her first WNBA dagger. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Caitlin Clark went from looking like a work in progress on Friday to, well, the Caitlin Clark everyone was waiting for. The result: her first career victory in the WNBA.

The No. 1 overall draft pick got off to a slow start to take the dagger in a 78-73 Indiana Fever victory over the Los Angeles Sparks, snapping a five-game season-opening losing streak. Clark had just five points and was 0 for 7 entering the game’s final minutes, which clearly didn’t affect his decision-making.

First, Clark came close to extend her team’s lead to six points with two and a half minutes remaining.

Then she provided the real dagger, taking a deep step back to put LA up with 40 seconds remaining.

If you judge Clark by the numbers she posted at Iowa, she didn’t have a very good game overall. She had an inefficient 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting (2-of-9 from deep), but also contributed a team-high 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

Sure, if you judge her as a rookie who was immediately given primary ball-handling duties on a team that went 13-27 last year less than two months after playing a season complete college, you can call it an encouraging step for a player. who still remains a league-changing prospect.

The Fever (1-5) trailed by 11 points at halftime, but quickly recovered thanks to sloppy play by the Sparks, who committed 19 turnovers. Veteran Kelsey Mitchell led the way with 18 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to power the victory. Former Indiana No. 1 selection Aaliyah Boston was also solid with 17 points and six rebounds.

For the Sparks, Cameron Brink, number two overall, had the best game of his young career with 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Dearica Hamby had a huge game with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

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