Womens Hoops

WNBA: Clark, Fever face off against veteran Sun in season opener

Atlanta Dream v Indiana Fever

There’s a lot of expectations and excitement surrounding the Indiana Fever’s season-opening visit to the Connecticut Sun (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

It, of course, will be Caitlin Clark’s official WNBA debut. She’s handling her media responsibilities like a pro, giving great answers and coming off as way more experienced at this than she should be. If you’re a fan of the other 11 WNBA teams, you might not be as willing to root for her, but even the biggest skeptics must admit that she’s handling the pressure exceptionally well.

NaLyssa Smith was the best scorer for the Fever during the preseason.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

On the court, Clark is already providing her teammates with opportunities to shine. During preseason media availability day, NaLyssa Smith said:

Everybody’s gonna have to be guarded and respected this year I think, and that’s gonna be the great part about us. Everybody can score, whether you’re at the one through the five, everybody can score the ball and it’s going to open up a little bit for me and [Aliyah Boston] because we have so many great shooters on the outside.

And if the two preseason games can be considered an indicator of things to come, Smith will be the biggest beneficiary of Caitlin Clark’s arrival to Indy. In the loss to the Wings and the win against the Dream, she led the team in scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game, but more importantly, she played with great confidence. Just look at this:

Clark has always been praised for playing “the right way” and in Indiana, where basketball is queen, she’s surrounded by the perfect talent to do that. Now it’s up to the WNBA fans to uphold the initial interest in “The Caitlin Clark Effect” and show their support for women’s basketball in general. Asked about the sustainability of the visits on the Fever’s StubHub website, StubHub spokesperson Adam Budelli said:

I think you’re going to see an initial peak and that’s typical around every type of draft or when new players come in. We also see it around when the schedule releases—StubHub page visits increase, then they get a little more gradual. Overall, if you’re comparing page visits this year over last year, it’s still significantly higher. And now that they had the…

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