Kaitlyn Clark hits clutch 3-pointer to clinch first WNBA win with Fever


LOS ANGELES — Caitlin Clark had 11 points and 10 rebounds for her first WNBA double-double and the Indiana Fever snapped a season-opening five-game skid with a 78-73 win over Los Angeles on Friday night in front of a Sparks record crowd of 19,103. It includes many Hollywood stars.

“The first one is really good,” said Clark, who also had eight assists.

Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana (1-5) with 18 points and Aaliyah Boston and Demi Fogbenle each had 17 points.

Caitlin Clark hit a 3-pointer in the second half of the Fever’s 78-73 win over the Sparks. AP

Clark’s rebounds are a career high.

He missed his first seven 3-point attempts, but finally made one of his trademark deep 3s with 2:27 left in the game, prompting an explosion of cheers and applause.

A giddy Clark high-fives actor and Iowa native Ashton Kutcher sitting in the courtroom.

“It was a fellow hockey player, someone who was very supportive of me during my college career,” he said. “He motivated me the whole game.”

The game featured the young and future of the WNBA, with No. 1 draft pick Clarke playing against No. 2 pick Cameron Brink and fourth pick Rickia Jackson of the Sparks.

“They’re making a huge impact in our league,” Fever coach Christy Sides said before the game.

Caitlin Clark celebrates after making a 3-pointer in the second half of the Fever’s win. AP

Brink had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Jackson added 16 points off the bench for the Sparks (1-3).

Dearica Hamby had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Jason Sudeikis, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, USC star Juju Watkins and teammate Raya Marshall and coach Lindsay Gottlieb were among Sparks’ first sales crowd. Game at Crypto.com Arena this season.

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“The crowd was absolutely amazing, especially at the end,” Clark said. “They were into it, they were invested.”

Caitlin Clark celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer. Good pictures

After trailing by 11 points early in the game, Boston, Fogbenle and Mitchell dominated the fourth quarter, with Mitchell hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.

Brink made a 3-pointer and Lexie Brown pulled the Sparks to within 73-71. But Clark answered with his second deep 3-pointer with about 40 seconds left and the crowd roared again as Indiana pulled ahead 76-71.

“I was as responsible as they had to be going in,” said Clark, who was 2-of-9 on 3-point attempts and 4-of-14 from the field. “I missed a lot throughout the game.”

Fever was only 7 out of 25 from long distance; The Sparks also struggled, going 5 of 24.

Caitlin Clark hugs soccer player Kristen Press after the Fever’s 78-73 win over the Sparks. AP

The Sparks played their first two home games in Long Beach, but the game was moved to downtown Los Angeles with Clark and Fever.

Trailing 45-34, the Fever started the third quarter on a 16-3 run to take a 50-48 lead. Fogbenle and Boston combined to score all of Indiana’s points, with Fogbenle’s 3-pointer capping the spurt.

Clark didn’t score, but he made a big steal at midcourt and scored after Boston missed.

“She was running our offense. She’s learning her system, learning her players,” Sides said of Clark. “She hit some big shots and did everything she was supposed to do.”

The teams meet again on Tuesday in Indianapolis.

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