July 7, 2024 

Caitlin Clark makes history with triple-double as Indiana Fever knock off New York Liberty

Clark wanted focus on the Fever's victory, despite making history with triple-double

It was just a matter of time before Caitlin Clark recorded her first triple-double as a pro. That wasn’t the surprise, but what came as a shock was that an Indiana Fever team that had lost its first three games against the WNBA’s best team wound up pulling out a close win over the New York Liberty on Saturday afternoon.

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Clark finished with 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds while registering the first triple-double by a rookie in the WNBA. Ever. 

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It was also the first in franchise history — and the crowd acted accordingly on Saturday afternoon in Gainbridge Fieldhouse. There were screams and chants and not a moment without them for minutes after the 10th rebound in the fourth quarter that etched history. 

“I think everybody was a little confused as to why they were going so nuts over [a] rebound,” Clark said with a laugh. “I mean, they can do that every time, but this was a little different.”

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While Clark made history with the triple-double, she made it clear after the game that it was a side note to the victory over a Liberty team that entered 17-3. 

“I’m just happy we won,” Clark said after the 83-78 win. “I take a lot of pride in being able to do a lot of different things for this team. I think we’re really good when I can get the ball off the glass and just go in transition and find my teammates and set them up.”

The Fever rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to notch the signature win over the Liberty, proving that they can succeed in those clutch moments that head coach Christie Sides has been stressing all season. They held New York to 10-of-42 (24%) shooting from beyond the arc, along with holding stars Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones to a combined 20 points.

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The Fever managed to hang around after the Liberty took a sizable lead in the fourth quarter, but a layup from Aliyah Boston gave the Fever the lead for good with two minutes to go. Indiana made 12-of-14 free throws in the contest — a weak spot for them so far this season — and the consistency carried them to the victory. 

Aside from Clark’s historic game, the frontcourt also had stellar performances. NaLyssa Smith finished with a double-double, while Boston scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Post player Damiris Dantas came off the bench and scored a crucial seven points in seven minutes of play. 

After starting the season with a 1-8 record, the Indiana Fever have gone 8-5 since, stringing together five straight victories on their homecourt after losing their first four. Indiana has five games left until the Olympic break, which includes two more at Gainbridge Fieldhouse against the Washington Mystics and Phoenix Mercury.

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Boston has improved immensely through this stretch, averaging 12.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Clark has also seen major improvements as she’s adjusted through her rookie season and increased chemistry with the team, averaging 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game.

Clark recorded 17 triple-doubles in college with the Iowa Hawkeyes, second to former Oregon standout Sabrina Ionescu — who she faced on Saturday, and also whose record she broke as the youngest player with a triple-double in the WNBA.

The WNBA began play in 1997 and there have been 996 rookies that have played at least one WNBA game. None have accomplished this feat. 

“Caitlin with her first triple-double tonight, oh my gosh, that’s incredible,” Sides said. ” First by a rookie in league history, first in Fever history, we just keep growing.”

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Each time Clark breaks a record or makes history, it seemingly always ends with the same reaction from her: charming discomfort. Clark doesn’t seek these moments, she seeks wins — something her teammates never fail to appreciate. 

“She’s so humble, isn’t she?” Boston told the media with a smile on Saturday before turning to Clark. “That’s pretty cool, Caitlin. Great job, sister.” 

After the game, the team celebrated the win, but they also celebrated their rookie All-Star by showering her with bottles of water in the locker room. 

The first thing Clark replied?

“Great job, everybody.”

Written by Talia Goodman

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