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Caitlin Clark's ready for her WNBA regular-season debut as Fever take on Connecticut

By The Canadian Press

Published 2:44 PDT, Tue May 14, 2024

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Caitlin Clark's much anticipated WNBA debut is set for Tuesday night in Connecticut.

The No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft is coming off a record-setting college career at Iowa.

“This is what you’ve worked for and dreamed of. Now you get to put your jersey on for the first real time and go out there and play,” Clark said. “We get to play on the biggest stage, there’s going to be a lot of people there, it’s going to be loud. But you only play your first WNBA game once. I think I just want to enjoy it. It’s going to be competitive. They’re really good, so you’ve got to prep the right way, too. More than anything, we’re ready for the challenge.”

Even before playing a WNBA game, Clark has left her mark in the pros. The league's draft had record viewership, and her No. 22 Indiana Fever jerseys have been flying off the shelves. 

Three WNBA teams have already moved their games to bigger arenas to keep up with the demand for tickets to watch her play. Her debut in Connecticut is sold out — the first sellout for the Sun in a season opener since they played their inaugural game at Mohegan Sun Arena in 2003 after moving from Orlando. There's also a huge media turnout with nearly four-times the number of credentials issued for this game then a normal Sun contest.

Clark and her teammates took the court in a morning shootaround at the empty arena. She said afterward that she planned to watch more film during the day in her hotel room.

“I don't feel nervous or really anxious,” she said. “I think I'm just excited more than anything and just embracing it."

Clark said she's not going to get too caught up on her play in her first game.

“If something isn't perfect, my life's not going to end," she said. "If, you know, we lose the game tonight, my life's not going to end. I'm just going to learn from it and come back on Thursday and try to help us win.”

This will be the second sold-out crowd Clark will play in front of in her extremely young WNBA career. Her preseason game in Dallas was sold out, too. More than 13,000 fans also turned up for her only home preseason game.

Clark's home debut will be Thursday, when the Fever host the New York Liberty.

– Doug Feinberg, The Associated Press

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