Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever earned their first home win of the 2024 season on Saturday, beating the Chicago Sky 71-70. Clark scored just 11 points on 11 shots in the win, but she had plenty of help as all 5 Indiana starters scored in double-digits.

The matchup marked the first WNBA meeting between Clark and Angel Reese, a former national champion at LSU drafted seventh overall. The 2 women have a shared history, and Saturday’s contest added another chapter.

As the clock wound down on the third quarter, Chicago’s Chennedy Carter connected on an 18-foot pull-up jumper. Afterward, as Clark was facing the baseline to receive an inbounds pass, Carter checked Clark in the back, knocking her to the ground.

Carter was assessed an away-from-the-play foul and Clark was awarded a free throw.

Reese — seated on the bench well after Carter’s jumper connected — could be seen jumping up and cheering on Carter after she connected with Clark.

“Yeah, that’s just not a basketball play,” Clark told ESPN of the foul after the quarter ended. “But you know I’ve gotta play through it, that’s what basketball is about at this level.”

Later in the fourth quarter, Reese boxed out Clark and stared her down after Clark fell to the floor.

Before the game, Reese did a courtside interview with SportsCenter during which she was asked about the rivalry with Clark. She talked instead about the entire rookie class elevating the WNBA’s profile. Back in March, Reese stressed the relationship between her and Clark was strictly a competitive one. “Me and Caitlin don’t hate each other,” Reese said then.

But there have been mixed feelings toward Clark early in her WNBA career, to say the least. And many on social media circulated the clip of Carter checking Clark with some kind of “don’t bite the hand that feeds” sentiment.

Former NFL running back Fred Taylor said on a podcast recently that Clark and Reese have the “biggest targets on their back” and that WNBA veterans have “sounded a bit salty” when either star rookie is brought up.

Clark’s entrance into the league has coincided with an infusion of interest. Her games sell out. Opponents have moved games into bigger arenas to accommodate the attention. TV records have been set. And Clark, after getting off to a rocky start, has delivered more often than not.

But she’s been forced to earn every inch of ground on the court.

On Thursday, Clark was hit with a tech after a back-and-forth exchange with the Seattle Storm. “I feel like I’m getting hammered, I don’t know,” Clark said in the postgame that night.

On the possession right before Carter’s foul on Clark, Clark appeared to be jawing at Carter on her way up the floor after a made basket for Indiana. When Carter was asked after the game about the sequence, she said she didn’t hear what Clark said and didn’t say anything to her.

“I ain’t answering no Caitlin Clark questions,” Carter said.

Asked about the incident, Clark said she is looking to just let her play do her talking.

“It is what it is. It’s a physical game. Go make the free throw and then execute on offense,” she said. “It is what it is, I guess. I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, with 11 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists in the victory, Clark tied a record held by Sabrina Ionescu the fastest player in WNBA history to reach 150 or more points, 50 or more rebounds, and 50 or more assists.

After a layup from Clark with 3:36 remaining in the game, Indiana held a 68-59 lead. Chicago erased that in a hurry, drawing within 1 point with 1:35 to play. Aliyah Boston converted an and-1 with 1:19 to play that proved significant. Chicago split a pair of free throws with 6.1 seconds remaining that would have tied the game and Indiana was able to run the clock out on a 1-point win.

Indiana (2-8) plays again on Sunday against the New York Liberty at the Barclays Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET on NBA TV.

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