Fever Fall To 1-8, Caitlin Clark Picks Up Third Technical Foul: Is WNBA Too Physical For The Anointed One?

Another night and another Indiana Fever loss. This time it was the Seattle Storm coming into Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indiana and leaving with a 103-88 road win on May 30.

This year’s No. 1 overall pick, Caitlin Clark, once again filled up the stat sheet, scoring 18 points, dishing out nine assists, and grabbing three rebounds. She also had seven turnovers and shot just 6-for-17 from the field, including 3 of 8 from three. 

In recent games Clark had begun to find her shooting stroke, and while that wasn’t the case in Thursday’s loss, she did show some real fire in picking up her third technical foul. Clark and Storm guard Victoria Vivians began jawing and staring at one each other following Clark hitting a deep three over her. The two had to he separated, and both were issued a technical foul. 

Fiery Clark Is A Good Thing, But She’s Gotta Be Careful

In recent days Clark has been open about how physical teams and players are being with her. She even insinuated that most of it’s illegal but the referees are swallowing their whistles. Thursday’s dustup with Vivians comes on the heels of those comments, and the former Iowa Hawkeyes legend chalked it up to competition. 

“You’ve got two competitive people,” Clark said in her postgame comments. 

That seemed to fire up Clark, who asked the near-sellout crowd to get loud. Same thing she did at Iowa when things got chippy with opposing teams, the difference is the Hawkeyes won most of those games. 

Clark’s Technical Count Rising Quickly

Just nine games into the 36-game season, Clark only has four technical fouls to spare before she’s fined and suspended. In the WNBA players are suspended after their seventh technical foul, then every other one after that. As far as the fines go, it’s $200 for fouls one to three, $400 for four to six, and $800 for every one from seven up. While the money isn’t an issue for Clark, missing games would be. For that alone she’s gotta channel her emotion and frustration with how she’s being played another way. 

Fever Defense Non-Existent 

As it’s been most of the season, the Fever’s defense was pretty much no-show. The Storm were never made to feel uncomfortable while shooting a season-high 56 percent from the field (42-for-75) and 42 percent (8 of 19) from three. They also had 29 assists and just eight turnovers. That’s a recipe for success, and the Storm, led by star player Jewell Loyd and her 22 points, had plenty of that. It was Loyd’s second-highest scoring output, and both have come against the Fever; she had 32 in a win over them last week. 

Clark knows the team’s defense must improve, and she spoke about it. 

“The third quarter was when we lost the game,” Clark said. “I just thought our defensive rotations were bad. … It’s not really about our offense. It was our defense. You’re not going to win a basketball game giving up 103.”

Head coach Christie Sided says she wants her team to stop engaging with the referees so much. Maybe they should take heed and defend a little better. Their star player also needs to stop turning the basketball over. She leads the league with almost six giveaways per game. While the refs could be better with their whistle, the Fever isn’t helping themselves with porous defense and mistakes that stem from a lack of effort.  

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