Caitlin Clark’s First Rookie Triple-Double In WNBA History Overshadows Sabrina Ionescu’s 22 Points

The arrival of 2024 WNBA No.1 overall pick Caitlin Clark has done wonders for the league as a whole.

Viewership and attendance at games has reached heights never seen, in fact the Indiana Fever’s 88-69 road loss to the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces was the largest regular season crowd (20,366) to attend a game since 1999.

In all, it was the fifth-largest crowd to attend any WNBA game, that’s a direct result of Clark’s arrival. The league also saw a 598 percent increase in All-Star voting, with Clark being the top vote getter at over 700,000 votes.

Has Caitlin Clark’s Arrival Overshadowed Sabrina Ionescu?

Not only has Clark’s presence helped grow the league in a tremendous way, but it’s also overshadowed some of the league’s best players.

One of those players is New York Liberty sharpshooter Sabrina Ionescu, who prior to Clark was the league’s most recognized long-range sniper. Ionescu has helped lead the Liberty to a league-best 17-4 record halfway through the season, and just goes about her business as she always has. 

Caitlin Clark Records First Triple-Double By A Rookie In WNBA History

On Sunday the two sharp-shooting guards went head-to-head and both had big games in an 83-79 Indiana Fever upset of the WNBA’s best team.

Caitlin Clark had the first triple-double by a rookie in WNBA history with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists.
Ionescu had 22 points, theee bounds and four assists. Both shooters were a dismal combined 7-of-25 from three, but Clark did enough other things to lead her riding team to victory.

Ionescu Should’ve Received Fanfare Clark Is Receiving 

The fanfare, exposure and visibility that Clark is receiving should’ve been for Ionescu.

Caitlin Clark (L) recorded first triple-double by a rookie in WNBA history, once again overshadowing NY Liberty sharp-shooter Sabrina Ionescu (R). (@kodaclay/TSL)

Unfortunately the former Oregon Ducks star entered the WNBA at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of it she hasn’t had that happen. Despite that Ionescu isn’t letting it affect how she deals with incoming rookies. 

In fact, the 2020 No.1 overall pick, who was a mentee of the late, great Kobe Bryant, has always been willing to give a young player advice as they embark on their WNBA journey. In May, Ionescu was asked if she had any advice for Clark, who at the time was being targeted by opposing teams, and sometimes in a way that crossed the proverbial basketball line. Ionescu didn’t hesitate to offer up some sound advice on how Clark and other rookies could handle the newfound difficulties that come with being a pro. 

“Every rookie is going to come in and have adversity from the beginning. It’s a lot different than college, so my advice to any rookie is to continue to grind and stick with it,” she said in a postgame interview. “Figure out ways to get better. That’s a big part of elevating your game, and understand what you did in college was enough and you deserve to have that confidence coming into the league, but knowing there’s so much room for improvement.”

Ionescu And Clark Are Shooting Just About The Same From Deep

Yes, Clark and Ionescu are two of the league’s best three-point shooters, but this season that’s been more about reputation than actual numbers.

Both are shooting just below 34 percent from deep and averaging the same amount of long distance makes (3) per game. The only difference is the timeliness of when they make their shots, with Clark having more clutch makes this season, mainly because the Fever (9-13) have been in much closer games. 

What’s also telling is entering Saturday’s game Ionescu was averaging 18.7 points, 6.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game this season on shooting splits of 42/34/91.

Clark on the other hand isas averaging a solid 16.1 points, 7.1 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game on shooting splits 39/34/89.

Based on numbers alone Ionescu has had the better season, but she’s also playing with much more talent, mainly reigning league MVP Breanna Stewart and former MVP Jonquel Jones.

Success Hasn’t Equated To Huge Fanfare For Ionescu

Despite the success of the Liberty and Ionescu also having her own signature show with Nike, no one moves the meter quite like Clark, the former Iowa Hawkeyes star.

And for that alone Clark has completely overshadowed the now three-time All-Star and reigning three-point shooting champion. 

It’ll be interesting to see if Clark challenges Ionescu for marksman supremacy at this year’s All-Star festivities the weekend of July 19-20th. 

After Saturday’s faceoff, with Clark and Ionescu raining threes, it will be a highly-anticipated faceoff.

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