Caitlin Clark's WNBA debut dismisses concerns
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) controls the ball as Dallas Wings guard Jacy Sheldon (4) defends during the first quarter at College Park Center. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Caitlin Clark's strong WNBA debut dismisses concerns about transition to pros

NCAA's all-time leading scorer and WNBA No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark made her unofficial pro debut Friday in the Indiana Fever's exhibition loss to the Dallas Wings, 79-76. 

After a historic collegiate career, Clark quickly put any doubts about her transition to the WNBA game in the rearview. Albeit in a loss, the former Iowa star led the Fever in scoring, finishing with 21 points, shooting 6-of-15 from the field and 5-of-13 from beyond the arc. 

Clark knocked down the first two shots she took. Unsurprisingly, both came from three-point range. 

The Rookie of the Year favorite did most of her damage in the first half. Even in her first professional action, the moment didn't look too big for Clark, who recorded 16 points (5-of-9) with four three-pointers (5-of-9) before halftime. 

After drawing national attention at Iowa, Clark showed her humbleness by admitting recently that she wasn't sure if anyone in Indianapolis would know who she was upon her arrival as the top pick. 

"Honestly, it's not much different, which is really exciting," Clark said via the WNBA. "I think it just shows the excitement in this city for women's basketball and hopefully what I'm able to bring to this organization."  

Clark's debut also left doubts about her impact on women's basketball in the dust. Friday's preseason tilt between the Fever and Wings was a sell-out (7,000). Meanwhile, the average ticket price for the game was $109, more than double the cost of a WNBA ticket in 2023 ($47). 

Post-game, Clark seemed overwhelmed by the support from WNBA fans. 

"A great atmosphere for women's basketball," Clark told Sheryl Swoopes. "I think it's a good kickoff to the WNBA season." 

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