Caitlin Clark ready for her WNBA regular-season debut as Fever take on Connecticut

ByDOUG FEINBERG AP logo
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 8:33PM
ABC7 New York 24/7 Eyewitness News Stream
Stream New York's #1 news - Accuweather - original content 24/7

UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- Caitlin Clark's much anticipated WNBA debut is set for Tuesday night in Connecticut.

The No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft is coming off a record-setting college career at Iowa.

"This is what you've worked for and dreamed of. Now you get to put your jersey on for the first real time and go out there and play," Clark said. "We get to play on the biggest stage, there's gonna be a lot of people there, it's gonna be loud. But you only play your first WNBA game once. I think I just want to enjoy it. It's gonna be competitive. They're really good, so you've got to prep the right way, too. More than anything, we're ready for the challenge."

Even before playing a WNBA game, Clark has left her mark in the pros. The league's draft had record viewership, and her No. 22 Indiana Fever jerseys have been flying off the shelves.

Three WNBA teams have already moved their games to bigger arenas to keep up with the demand for tickets to watch her play. Her debut in Connecticut is sold out - the first sellout for the Sun in a season opener since they played their inaugural game at Mohegan Sun Arena in 2003 after moving from Orlando.

"I mean I'm excited, I think this is the best way to do it, just get out there and go for it," Clark said. "It doesn't really feel like my first game, I feel like it's just another basketball game that you prepare for in the same way you always have. Obviously it's a different magnitude, but for me, it's basketball, you just go play basketball and have fun doing it."

Clark said she's not going to get too caught up on her play in her first game.

"If something isn't perfect, my life's not going to end," she said. "If, you know, we lose the game tonight, my life's not going to end. I'm just going to learn from it and come back on Thursday and try to help us win."

This will be the second sold-out crowd Clark will play in front of in her extremely young WNBA career. Her preseason game in Dallas was sold out, too. Over 13,000 fans also turned up for her only home preseason game.

"I don't think it's any different from college, I played in front of sold-out crowds literally every single game so these environments don't scare me or impact me at all," Clark said. "I think it's just embrace it, enjoy it, I think there will be a lot of basketball fans here that really appreciate the game, and for myself that's fun to play in front of."

Clark's home debut will be Thursday, when the Fever host the New York Liberty.

The Opening Night WNBA doubleheader, also featuring the Las Vegas Aces hosting the Phoenix Mercury, will be on Disney+ in addition to ESPN2 and ESPN+.

Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ESPN, Disney+ and this station.

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives on Atlanta Dream guard Allisha Gray (15) during the first half of a preseason WNBA basketball game in Indianapolis.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives on Atlanta Dream guard Allisha Gray (15) during the first half of a preseason WNBA basketball game in Indianapolis.
AP Photo/Darron Cummings