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WNBA: Indiana Fever, Caitlin Clark still looking for first win

In the opening week of the 2024 WNBA season, rookies were the center of attention, but instead of shining as stars, they had to face the harsh realities of the league.

This is to be expected. The WNBA is way better than women's college basketball. But Caitlin Clark fans are getting used to this truth. It's not just Clark and Indiana Fever that have had problems; Cameron Brink of the Los Angeles Sparks played well but lost the opening game to the Atlanta Dream, and Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky also lost to the Dallas Wings in her debut.

“Sparks and Fever” will be on national television on Saturday, May 18th. They will have the opportunity to get their first wins and confirm that this draft class is worth the hype.

The New York Liberty will host the Indiana Fever at 1:00 p.m. ET on ABC, followed by the Las Vegas Aces taking on the Los Angeles Sparks at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Another reality check for Indy in the rematch against New York?

Attention comes at a price that many are not willing to pay.

If you want to focus more on your work, this is what Fever looks like. WNBA teams have thrown a bucket of cold water on the idea that anyone could come into this league and dominate. For die-hard fans, this was expected, but for those who thought Clark and her accolades could simply be copied and pasted from Iowa to Indiana, it came as a bit of a shock.

This isn't a condemnation of Clark or the Fever, but even a newcomer to a generation is a newcomer, and the Fever won 13 games last year, which is less than decent. It will be some time – realistically years – before The Fever can even come close to challenging for the title. In the meantime, there will continue to be plenty of losses and some bad nights where you have to take the other team's best shot and your jaw just isn't ready for it.

The Fever just lost to the Liberty 102-66, so they still have a lot of work to do to turn that result into a win on Saturday. Aliyah Boston needs to do a better job of dealing with the physicality of Jonquel Jones and the Liberty bigs, and Clark can't score nine points and expect a win.

What do the Liberty have to do to win? Just be freedom. Breanna Stewart was in MVP form, dropping 31 points, and the team looked as sharp as Ginsu on both sides of the ball. It's tough to beat the same team twice in a row, but the Liberty are a veteran team that should have a win in hand if they stay focused.

Expect Vegas to assert its greatness against LA

Speaking of a veteran team that is fully focused: The Aces are aiming for a three-pointer. They started this campaign with a rocky game against the Mercury, but took the win 89-80. But the lackluster victory doesn't suggest that the rebuilding Sparks are likely to topple the two-time defending champions, who are looking to establish themselves as the best team of all time.

Brink will have his hands full protecting the rim against A'ja Wilson. In college, she often struggled with committing too many fouls, and in her WNBA debut she registered five personal fouls. The Sparks' starters performed relatively well against the Dream, but only rookie Rickea Jackson did anything off the bench, scoring seven of the team's eight bench points. They'll need more from their reserves if they want to upset the Aces in Las Vegas.


Game information

New York Liberty (2:0) vs. Indiana Fever (0:2)

When: Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m. ET

Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY

How to watch: ABC

Liberty injury report: none

Fever Injury Report: Damiris Dantas (out; knee)

Las Vegas Aces (1:0) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (0:1)

When: Saturday, May 18, 3 p.m. ET

Where: Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, NV

How to watch: ABC

Aces injury report: Chelsea Gray (out; lower left foot)

Sparks injury report: Azurá Stevens (out; left arm), Rae Burrell (out; not suffering from Covid)

Anna Harden

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