Clark, Fever edge Reese, Sky for 1st home win



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INDIANAPOLIS — NaLyssa Smith scored 18 points and Caitlin Clark had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists Saturday as the Indiana Fever got their first home win of the season, 71-70 over the Chicago Sky.

Indiana (2-8) snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 1-4 at home on Pride Day and in the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup game. The Fever closed it out with Erica Wheeler running down the final 6.6 seconds on the clock before passing to Clark, who tossed the ball high into the air.

Clark turned the tables on two of her college rivals: former LSU star Angel Reese and former South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso, each of whom beat Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes in the past two Division I national championship games.

Chennedy Carter had 19 points and six assists to lead the Sky (3-4). Marina Mabrey finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Reese finished with eight points and 13 rebounds, and Cardoso had 11 points and six rebounds in her regular-season professional debut.

Dana Evans had a chance to force overtime but missed the first of two free throws with 6.6 seconds to go. Chicago never got the ball back.

But this contest was about far more than scores, stats or in-season tournament results.

It featured three of the top seven picks from the April draft — three players in a generational draft class, each capable of becoming the new face of the WNBA. It also capped a week when Fever fans were treated to seeing this year’s first four draft picks and five of the top seven up close at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

But it was the rematches involving Clark, a two-time NCAA Player of the Year and two-time Division I national runner-up, against Cardoso, a two-time national champ with South Carolina, and especially Reese, a 2023 national champ with LSU, that captivated the crowd. Cardoso hadn’t played since injuring her right shoulder during a May 3 preseason game.

Although Fever coach Christie Sides attempted to play up the rivalry between the two Midwestern teams, the loud pregame ovation for Clark and a smattering of boos that were quickly drowned out by cheers for Reese during pregame introductions typified the showdown.

Cardoso entered for the first time midway through the first quarter and made an immediate impact. She had six points and four rebounds during a six-minute stint in which the Sky erased a 22-16 deficit, took the lead and sustained the momentum to complete a 15-4 spurt after Cardoso departed midway through the second quarter.

Clark helped ignite Indiana’s response, a 9-0 run just before halftime, to give the Fever a 35-31 lead.

Chicago charged back to tie the score at 37 early in the second half, but Indiana answered with six straight points and closed the third quarter with a 54-49 lead. The Sky rallied again late after falling into a 68-58 deficit but couldn’t come all the way back.

The Sky get a short break before hosting the New York Liberty on Tuesday.

The Fever visit the Liberty for the second time this season Sunday.



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