Indiana Fever got ‘punched in the mouth’ in Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut

Caitlin Clark isn’t going to turn the Indiana Fever into championship contenders overnight.

That much was evident Tuesday night during her WNBA debut, when the Fever were crushed on the road, 92-71, by the Connecticut Sun in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,910.

“They punched us in the mouth tonight,” Fever coach Christie Sides told reporters after the game.

DiJonai Carrington #21 of the Connecticut Sun defends against Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever during the third quarter on Tuesday. Getty Images

Fever head coach Christie Sides reacts after the team’s loss to the Sun on Tuesday. Getty Images

The Fever have gone seven straight seasons without a playoff appearance, the longest active drought in the WNBA.

And while they hope they can make it back to the postseason with Clark in the fold, it appears there will be growing pains for the 22-year-old star.

While she led the Fever with 20 points on Tuesday, she shot just 5-for-15 from the field (4-for-11 from 3-point range) and had a whopping 10 turnovers.

“A lot of things to learn from,” Clark said. “There’s gonna be good ones, there’s gonna be bad ones.”

The Fever were down eight entering the fourth quarter, but the Sun dominated during the fourth quarter to open up an insurmountable lead.

Reigning Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game last season, had just four points on 2-for-6 shooting Tuesday with six rebounds.

Caitlin Clark reacts on the Fever bench during her WNBA debut on Tuesday. Getty Images

Caitlin Clark scores against the Sun on Tuesday. AP

The only other Fever player to score double-digits was Nalyssa Smith, who had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Sun had a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures, led by veteran All-Star DeWanna Bonner’s 20 points.

Star Sun forward Alyssa Thomas recorded her 12th career triple-double with 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

The Fever will play their home opener Thursday night against the Liberty in what is expected to be a raucous atmosphere for Clark’s home debut.

The two teams will complete a home-and-home in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

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