Record-breaking crowd sees Clark’s Fever defeat Dream, 91-79

AP PHOTO - Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) battles Atlanta Dream guard Haley Jones, right, and Nia Coffey for the loose ball during the second half of a WNBA basketball game Friday in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — NaLyssa Smith had 21 points and nine rebounds, Caitlin Clark added 16 points and seven assists, and the Indiana Fever beat the Atlanta Dream 91-79 on Friday night in front a record-breaking 17,575 fans at State Farm Arena.

Atlanta set a franchise record for single-game home attendance, surpassing the 11,609 fans who saw the team’s inaugural game against the Detroit Shock in 2008 at Philips Arena.

The game was played at the home of the Atlanta Hawks due to high ticket demand to see Clark, the No. 1 draft pick. The Dream’s usual home at Gateway Center Arena in College Park has a capacity of 3,500.

The hyped matchup took a hit when it was announced that Rhyne Howard, the 2022 top pick for Atlanta, would not play due to a lower leg injury.

Indiana scored a season-high 35 first-quarter points to build a 10-point lead after shooting 70 percent from the field.

Clark made her fourth 3-pointer, and Indiana’s 10th, to extend the lead to 71-60 midway through the third quarter. It came during an 11-3 run that ended in a 79-62 lead. The Fever cruised in the fourth.

Kelsey Mitchell added 18 points and Aliyah Boston had 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for Indiana (7-10), which won its fourth straight game. Katie Lou Samuelson added 10 points off the bench.

Tina Charles scored a season-high 24 for her 37th career 20-point game to lead Atlanta (6-8). Allisha Gray added 19 points and Haley Jones scored 12.

Atlanta’s next home game against Indiana will also be played at State Farm Arena on August 26.


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