Kaitlyn Clark and Angel Reese beat Fever Sky, 71-70, in first WNBA meeting

Angel Reese and Kaitlyn Clark faced each other on a WNBA court for the first time Saturday, but it was senior Kelsey Mitchell who took the spotlight in the Indiana Fever’s 71-70 victory.

The seventh-year guard scored 18 points to lead the Fever. Surprisingly, Mitchell didn’t score in the first quarter, but picked it up in the second and fourth frames, and was more aggressive going to the basket. Nalisa Smith added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Fever, who won their first home game of the season and second overall.

Chennady Carter led all scorers for the Sky with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting with six rebounds. The four-year veteran dominated the floor, attacking Fever players and checking them hard defensively.

Marina Mabrey added 15 points for Chicago, but missed a free throw with 6.1 seconds left that would have tied the score at 71-71. Indiana was able to prevent Sky from being fouled with a pass into the backcourt that ran out of time.

Clark scored 11 points with eight rebounds, but struggled with his shot after hitting his first two three-pointers. He had five turnovers as Clark and his teammates learned each other’s tendencies on the court.

Reese finished with eight points, going 2-for-9 from the floor. But she made her presence felt defensively in the fourth quarter when Clarke again came out with a punch, especially when Clarke ran into her opponent with an elbow.

Saturday’s matchup will be the season debut for Cardoso, the No. 3 pick in this year’s WNBA draft from defending national champion South Carolina. Playing against her former Gamecocks teammate, Aaliyah Boston, the 6-foot-7 center quickly established herself near the basket and scored six points on 3-for-3 shooting.

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Fever had trouble matching Cardoso in the post, but pulled away from giving her the ball after that impressive start. Nalisa Smith’s scoring underneath Boston’s low and stiff defense played a part in that.

Cardoso finished with 11 points and six rebounds, shooting 5-for-7 from the floor, and there was no doubt he could make an impact in the sky right away.

After Thursday’s loss to the Seattle Storm, Clark told reporters, “I feel like a hammer.” Opponents not being called for fouls contributed in part to Clark’s technical fouls. With three for the season, she is now nearly halfway to the seven technicals that would constitute an automatic one-game suspension under WNBA rules.

Sky tested Clarke hard, coming through the lane and continuing the strategy to work for the positive. Late in the third quarter, Carter overthrew Clark while waiting for an inbounds pass. He was called for a common foul on the play, but many thought that warranted a flagrant 1.

The Fever next face the New York Liberty (6–2) on Sunday evening. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET. The Sky (3–4) host the Liberty on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. Both games will be televised on NBA TV.

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