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Caitlin Clark shines in her WNBA debut, a preseason sellout

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives past Dallas Wings forward Natasha Howard (6) during their WNBA basketball game in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.
Michael Ainsworth
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AP
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives past Dallas Wings forward Natasha Howard (6) during their WNBA basketball game in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.

Caitlin Clark made her WNBA debut with the Indiana Fever on Friday night — and her "effect" showed no signs of waning.

The preseason game against the Dallas Wings was another sellout match with enthusiastic fans lining up outside College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, to watch the NCAA's all-time leading scorer play in her first professional game.

"My biggest goal coming into tonight was being myself, have fun playing basketball, be aggressive. Thought that's what I did," Clark said Friday in a post-game press conference.

Similar to her time at the University of Iowa, Clark shined Friday on the court — scoring 21 points with three rebounds, two assists, two steals, despite it being a losing match. The Wings won 79-76.

Fever head coach Christie Sides applauded Clark's performance but noted that the rookie star and the rest of the team were still in an adjustment period.

"We're still learning each other," Sides said Friday at the press conference.

Sides noted that in the first quarter, Clark appeared fatigued. The head coach said she hopes Clark will lean on her teammates in the future.

Clark was asked what the biggest difference was between professional and college basketball.

"Everybody's super physical, it doesn't always get called. I would say that's the biggest thing," she said.

Clark's debut in a regular-season game will be against the Connecticut Sun on May 14.

"It's a big milestone for somebody that's always dreamed of playing in the WNBA," Clark said.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.
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