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Fever’s Clark taking WNBA by storm


The effect Caitlin Clark has had on the WNBA before the season has even started has been palpable.

After Clark was selected first overall by the Indiana Fever, her jersey quickly sold out and the draft itself pulled in a record 2.45 million viewers on ESPN.

Watch Caitlin Clark make her WNBA regular season debut against the Connecticut Sun LIVE on Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on TSN and streaming on and the TSN App. 

The WNBA is accommodating the hype surrounding Clark, as the league plans to show 36 of the Fever’s 40 regular-season games nationally. The demand to see her in person has prompted two teams so far, the Washington Mystics and Las Vegas Aces, to move to bigger venues for their first games against Indiana this season.

Clark had a college season for the ages at Iowa as a senior, breaking the NCAA Division I basketball scoring record with 3,951 career points while earning AP Player of the Year, the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith College Player of the Year Award for the second year in a row. She was also named a unanimous first-team All-American for the third straight year.

While her season ended in the national championship game with a loss to the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks, Clark’s No. 22 jersey was retired by Iowa days after, the third player in program history to receive that honour.

The Fever have missed the playoffs seven years in a row. The franchise was once one of the better teams in league, making 12 straight playoff appearances (2005-16) that included three trips to the finals, and a championship in 2012.

The team has had number of high picks the past several years, led by centre Aliyah Boston, who was the No. 1 pick in 2023 after an impressive NCAA career at South Carolina. She lived up to the hype as a rookie, averaging 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds while starting all 40 games as she earned unanimous rookie of the year honours.

In 2022, the Fever selected forward NaLyssa Smith with the second overall pick. As a sophomore last season, she averaged 15.5 points and 9.2 rebounds (fourth in WNBA).

In her six years with Indiana, Kelsey Mitchell has carried the load offensively for the Fever. In 2023, she averaged 18.2 points with 3.1 assists.

Getting back-to-back first-overall picks has proven fruitful for teams in the WNBA. In 2001 and 2002, the Seattle Storm took Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird and won two championships together. In 2015 and 2016, the Storm took Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart and won two championships with the duo, with Bird picking up two more rings.

The Las Vegas franchise also picked first overall from 2017-19, starting with Kelsey Plum (when the franchise was still in San Antonio) followed by A’ja Wilson (2018) and Jackie Young (2019). All three were key core members that helped the Aces win back-to-back championships the past two seasons.

The Fever are hoping that same fortune of getting Boston and Clark gets them back to the playoffs and ultimately, championships.

Clark had the option to return for a fifth year with Iowa but opted to start her professional career after seeing the Fever win the draft lottery and get the No. 1 pick.

"It definitely played a huge role," Clark said in her introductory news presser. "I was hoping Indiana got the first pick, it made my life a lot better. So, I was pretty excited. I was just ready for a new challenge in my life."