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Fever exhibits promise despite 88-84 loss to Sun

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In a hard-fought contest that captivated a sold-out Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Indiana Fever were edged out by the Connecticut Sun in the final minutes 88-84 on May 20. The loss marks the Fever’s second defeat against the Sun this season, leaving them with a 0-4 record thus far.

Despite the loss, the Fever showcased a balanced offensive attack with five players scoring in double figures. All-Star guard Kelsey Mitchell and rookie sensation Caitlin Clark led the team with 17 points and five assists each. Clark, in just her second regular season game played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, displayed her brilliance by contributing three rebounds and two blocks, with all five assists coming in a pivotal fourth quarter. 

Clark also suffered an ankle injury early in the second quarter, yielding a collective gasp from the crowd, seemingly taking the life out of Gainbridge Fieldhouse, if only for a moment.

Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark moments after sustaining an ankle injury during the game against the Connecticut Sun on May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. (Photo/David Dixon)
Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark moments after sustaining an ankle injury during the game against the Connecticut Sun on May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. (Photo/David Dixon)

“Honestly, I turned (my ankle) pretty good,” Clark said. “I think it just got caught. I don’t think I stepped on anybody … I just wanted to get a lot more tape on it and get back out there.”

Luckily, Clark did get back out there, returning to the game for the second half.

Mitchell, a veteran guard, reached a milestone by tying former Fever player Tully Bevilaqua for the fifth-most games played in a Fever uniform. Ironically, Bevilaqua returned to the Fever this season as a player development coach.

After the contest, Mitchell shared how she felt the team improved in their second contest against Connecticut in comparison to their earlier matchup.

More: Indiana Fever fall to Liberty in Clark’s home debut

“I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel as far as this game is concerned,” Mitchell said. “I feel good about where we are going, but it is not enough. We can do better. I personally believe that. Better is not enough and we are not going to settle for mediocrity.”

Fever forward NaLyssa Smith provided a spark with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals. The reigning Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and a game-high three blocks. 

Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell puts up a layup as Connecticut Sun guard Ty Harris attempts to contest during their game on May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/David Dixon)
Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell puts up a layup as Connecticut Sun guard Ty Harris attempts to contest during their game on May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/David Dixon)

Temi Fagbenle delivered a breakout performance with her first career double-double, recording 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Fagbenle credited her performance to the consistent energy she brings.

“I try to give the energy every day, every game and every practice,” Fagbenle said. “I set out to do it, and I went out there and did it.”

The Fever exhibited their offensive prowess, outscoring the Sun in bench points (25-4) and points in the paint (48-42).

Although they held a promising four-point lead with under five minutes remaining in the contest, the Fever fell short. The Sun, led by Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner, rallied with an assertive 16-8 run to secure the victory. Thomas appeared to overwhelm the Fever frontcourt with a game-high 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Bonner contributed 22 points.

Clark shared her insight about the last few minutes of the game.

More news: Indiana Fever defeat Atlanta Dream 83-80

Connecticut Sun guard Ty Harris puts up a three-pointer over Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark during their game on May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/David Dixon)
Connecticut Sun guard Ty Harris puts up a three-pointer over Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark during their game on May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/David Dixon)

“Our crowd was incredible, our fans were incredible, I think you can see the progress this team is making. That is why this one hurts a lot,” Clark said. “We were right there and had plenty of opportunities to win the game and then you don’t. It is the little things we do to ourselves.”

Sun guards Tyasha Harris and Dijonai Carrington also played crucial roles, scoring 16 and 14 points respectively. Harris, a graduate of Heritage Christian High School in Indianapolis, provided dozens of tickets to her hometown fans so they could watch her play.

They will look to break a four-game skid as they embark on a three-game road trip to the West Coast, starting with the next matchup against the Seattle Storm at 10 p.m. on May 22.

Contact multi-media & senior sports reporter Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Follow him on X @3Noral. For more Indiana Fever news from the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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