Caitlin Clark show comes to Big Apple as Fever visit Liberty

By Thomson Reuters May 17, 2024 | 10:40 AM

The New York Liberty look to remain unbeaten on Saturday afternoon when they host the Indiana Fever and rookie Caitlin Clark in their home opener in Brooklyn.

“We have to show up and play our 40 minutes of best basketball in order to win,” Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu said.

It is a rematch of Thursday night’s 102-66 rout in favor of the Liberty (2-0), an outcome that put a damper on the Fever’s home opener.

New York’s Breanna Stewart racked up a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double to at least overshadow Clark statistically.

The rematch comes at Barclays Center, which is the next stop on Clark’s rookie tour that so far has created festive atmospheres combined with on-court frustrations for the Fever (0-2).

Indiana’s shortcomings have come at both ends of the court.

“You don’t win a lot of games giving up 102 (points),” Fever coach Christie Sides said. “We’ve got to do a better job.”

Clark scored nine points and delivered six assists in Thursday’s game. She’s fully cognizant of the attention placed on her after a record-setting collegiate career at Iowa and the responsibility that comes with it.

“I’m very aware of it,” Clark said. “People get so excited to come to these games and are spending a lot of their time and money.”

New York’s Betnijah Laney-Hamilton defended Clark tightly. Clark was 2-for-8 from the field, including 1-for-7 on 3-pointers in the game in Indianapolis.

“She just needs to get a little bit of confidence right now,” Sides said. “I think she’s taking some shots that she normally would knock down.”

Through two games, Clark has averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 turnovers per game.

“These people are coming for a show, and not everything is going to be perfect,” Clark said.

The buzz around the Fever is fine with others in the league. They see the benefits that could come from it.

“People want to be a part of this,” Stewart said. “The thing now is to continue to sustain it.”

Stewart has excelled in the past against the Fever. Last season, she reached the 40-point mark twice vs. Indiana, pouring in 45 and 42 points.

The Liberty have won the last seven meetings with Indiana. Ionescu has a stretch of 27 consecutive regular-season games with at least one 3-point basket.

–Field Level Media