Indiana Fever beat LA Sparks for Kaitlyn Clark’s first WNBA win

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 in front of a record-setting Sparks crowd to beat the Los Angeles Sparks 78-73 on Friday night. 19,103.

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

Clark’s rebounds are a career high. He missed his first seven 3-point attempts, but finally made one with 2:27 left in the game, prompting an explosion of cheers and applause.

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.

Brink had 15 points and nine rebounds and Jackson added 16 points 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 in attendance for the Spar Homes franchise’s largest crowd. First game of the season at Arena.

Clark gave a thumbs up and smiled as she walked across the court after the buzzer, the crowd cheering her every move.

Boston, Falkbenle and Mitchell dominated the fourth quarter, with Mitchell hitting 3-pointers.

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

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

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.

Next up, the Fever visit the Las Vegas Aces on Saturday and the Sparks host the Dallas Wings on Sunday.

The Fever and Sparks meet again Tuesday in Indianapolis.

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