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Caitlin Clark finishes with 20 points and 10 turnovers as Fever fall to Connecticut in WNBA opener



By Doug Feinberg

Caitlin Clark struggled early in her WNBA debut before finishing with 20 points and 10 turnovers as the Indiana Fever fell to the Connecticut Sun 92-71 on Tuesday night.

Alyssa Thomas led the Sun with 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, registering the 12th triple-double of her career. DeWanna Bonner added 20 points and DiJonai Carrington had 16. Carrington also was a major reason for Clark’s early offensive struggles, hounding the guard.

“Disappointed and nobody likes to lose, that’s how it is,” Clark said. “Can’t beat yourself up too much about one game.”

The NCAA’s all-time Division I scoring leader, who finished the game 5 for 15 from the field, went scoreless in the first quarter. She missed her first four shots before finally getting on the board midway through the second period.

Clark stole the ball around the foul line and drove the length of the court before laying the ball in. She later added two free throws and hit a 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds left in the first half to finish the opening 20 minutes with seven points, hitting two of her seven shot attempts. The Fever trailed 49-39 at the break.

The Fever got within 63-57 late in the third quarter on two free throws by Clark, but couldn’t get closer the rest of the way.

Clark did start heating up from the field, hitting four 3-pointers, including one from long range.

“Caitlin was able to get her some looks, able to knock them down. our spacing was not great,” Indiana coach Christie Sides said. “Connecticut came in and punched us in the mouth tonight. We’ll be in the gym tomorrow watching a lot of video trying to figure out how not to turn the ball over 25 times.”

Clark broke the WNBA all-time record for turnovers in a debut game that was held by Cynthia Cooper-Dyke when she had nine.

MOVING ON UP

Bonner moved into fifth on the WNBA’s career scoring list, moving ahead of former Phoenix Mercury teammate Candice Dupree. who finished her career with 6,895 points. Bonner passed Dupree on a layup midway through the third quarter.

“To do it here on this night with this team and this group and this crowd made it more special,” Bonner said. “It was huge and goal of mine i can check off my list. to be in this league is hard, to stay in this league is harder. To be part of that list is amazing. pat myself on the back for that one.”

Bonner, who now has 6,901 points, raised her hands to the crowd after a timeout to acknowledge the accomplishment.

RETURN OF BRIONNA

Brionna Jones played for the first time since rupturing her right Achilles tendon last June. The Sun’s All-Star center had eight points while playing just under 20 minutes.

“We certainly missed her and it put a smile on my face to see her out there again,” Connecticut coach Stephanie White said.

UP NEXT:

Fever: Return to Indiana to play New York on Thursday in the team’s home opener

Sun: Host Washington on Friday.

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