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Connecticut Sun rout Indiana Fever to spoil Caitlin Clark's WNBA debut

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. - The Connecticut Sun defeated the Indiana Fever by double digits on Tuesday night to spoil Caitlin Clark's WNBA debut before a historic sell-out crowd on the league's season opening night. 

Clark, guarded heavily by the Sun's DiJonai Carrington, went scoreless in the first quarter and was 2 of 7 from the field, including 1 of 4 from deep, with no rebounds, one assist, and five turnovers in the first half to help the Sun to maintain their double-digit lead. 

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever controls the ball, defended by DiJonai Carrington of the Sun, at Mohegan Sun Arena on May 14, 2024, in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Fever head coach Christie Sides called out the team's critical turnovers, 10 of which came from Clark.

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"We don't have a lot of practice time for our next one," Sides said of Indiana's quick turnaround to host the New York Liberty on Thursday night. 

"We'll be in the gym tomorrow watching a lot of video, trying to figure out how not to turn the ball over 25 times for 29 points." 

Clark's struggles were evident early on, but she managed to adjust in the second half and finished with a team-high of 20 points.  

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever reacts during the Sun game at Mohegan Sun Arena on May 14, 2024, in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Elsa/Getty Images)

"I thought our first couple of possessions were okay, and then they kind of went on a run, and we really struggled to score," Clark said after the loss. "We really didn't get into much." 

FEVER'S CAITLIN CLARK STEADY AHEAD OF WNBA DEBUT: 'I DON'T REALLY GET NERVOUS'

Clark credited the physicality of the Sun and some "uncharacteristic" moments from her for the high turnover rate. 

"I think collectively, 25 turnovers is going to make it really hard for us to win." 

Despite the loss and the slow start, Clark's popularity in the WNBA continues.

The crowd of nearly 9,000 fans roared as Clark's name was called on the court. The Suns said Tuesday's game marked the first time since the franchise's inaugural season in 2003 that a home opener has sold out. 

Fans wear shirts and hold signs in support of Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever prior to a game against the Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena on May 14, 2024, in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Elsa/Getty Images)

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Clark's first touch of the game drew similar cheers, rivaling the cheers of the home crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Tuesday marked Clark's second sold out game of her professional career. In her preseason debut against the Dallas Wings earlier this month, Clark dropped a team-high 21 points before a packed arena.

Taking the court for the first time at Gainbridge Fieldhouse last week, Clark also drew a record crowd of 13,028 - a franchise record more than triple last season's 4,000.

Indiana opens the season at home on Thursday when they host the Liberty at 7 p.m. ET.

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