Clark overcomes another physical game to lead Fever past Sky 91-83

INDIANAPOLIS — Caitlin Clark and Aliyah Boston are finally getting in sync and, naturally, Indiana looks like it finally has a winning combination.

The rookie guard overcame yet another physically demanding challenge from Chicago by finishing with 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds while Boston produced her third consecutive double-double to lead the Fever to a 91-83 victory over the Sky on Sunday.

For Clark, it was her best day as a pro. She made 7 of 11 shots, three 3-pointers and — and celebrated her first back-to-back wins of her WNBA career.

“I think we’re moving the ball and I think once we gave it up, people were getting it back in the half court,” Clark said after committing a more manageable five turnovers in nearly 37 minutes. “I thought we were really good out of the ball-screen action, I thought we made some really good reads.”

Boston, last year’s WNBA Rookie of the Year, had 19 points and 14 rebounds while Kelsey Mitchell added 17 points and NaLyssa Smith had 15. The balanced scoring attack was a welcome change for the Fever (5-10), who now lead the Sky 2-0 in the season series.

But, just like the first contest two weeks ago, Clark took a hard shot that knocked her to the ground, this time when college rival Angel Reese’s right elbow hit Clark in the head.

The difference this time, unlike the Chennedy Carter play, was that the refs upgraded the foul to a flagrant-1 following a replay review, giving Clark two free throws and Indiana the next possession.

“The right call was made in that moment,” Fever coach Christie Sides said. “Just make the right call in those moments, and we can move forward. But when we don’t make the right call in those moments, that’s when there’s a problem and they made the right call tonight.”

Reese disagreed with Sides’ assessment, complaining it was merely a basketball play.

Regardless, the decision will only add fuel to a rapidly growing regional rivalry.

Marina Mabrey scored 22 points to lead the Sky (4-9), who have lost four straight.

Carter, whose hard shot at the unsuspecting Clark on an inbound pass two weeks ago, had 18 points and four assists. League officials later upgraded Carter’s foul to a flagrant-1.

Reese had 11 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while Kamilla Cardoso had 10 points and 1 rebound Sunday.

But the lingering impact from the Clark-Carter play and the highly anticipated rematch between Reese and Clark had another full house inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse buzzing throughout a game that included heated moments such as Clark smacking Dana Evans’ arm away after Evans hooked Clark and Reese pushing an Indiana player after losing a rebound.

Fans cheered Carter and Reese each time either drew a foul, and Reese nearly lost her cool after drawing foul No. 5. The refs assessed a delay of game warning as a frustrated Reese slapped the ball back toward them and then continued arguing as she walked up the court.

“Either I’m going to be mad and sad about (losing) or I’m going to get up and figure out what I can do better and look myself in the mirror and figure out what I can do better before the next game,” Reese said.

On the floor, though, Indiana’s dynamic duo helped the Fever survive another close contest.

Indiana built a 47-43 lead with a 12-6 run to close the first half. Marina Mabrey then scored eight points in a 12-4 spurt to open the second half to give the Sky a 55-51 lead.

The Fever charged back, taking a 58-57 lead on Clark’s 3-pointer midway through the third and never trailed again. They opened up a 68-64 lead before Chicago scored the final basket of the quarter.

Indiana sealed it with a sequence that included Clark’s second 3 of the game, Boston’s short jumper, Smith’s layup and two free throws from Clark over the final 3:06.

“She took the shots that were hers and knocked them down. She distributed the basketball,” Sides said, referring to Clark. “She takes so much attention and she’s able to find those open looks for her teammates. I mean all around she was just really good.”


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