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Fever fizzle out to Storm 85-83

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Indiana Fever fell to the Seattle Storm in a hard-fought contest

Exactly 49 days ago, Caitlin Clark and Nika Muhl faced off in the NCAA Tournament. Now, they both are rookies in the WNBA, facing off once again in front of a sold-out crowd at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on May 22. 

The Indiana Fever fell short to the Seattle Storm 85-83 in a late-night matchup that hosted 18,343 fans and nearly 227,000 viewers online. It was the most attended game in the Storm’s 20-year history.

“It was pretty incredible, that crowd and environment was great, just looking around and seeing a sea of people … it was a great game,” Clark said. 

WNBA Indiana Fever player and Seattle Storm player.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives as Seattle Storm guard Nika Muhl defends during the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Wednesday, May 22, 2024, in Seattle. The Storm won 85-83. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

The game also marks the fourth in five games to boast a sellout crowd for Clark and the Indiana Fever. 

Muhl, now a member of the Seattle Storm, received a standing ovation once she checked into the game in the third quarter. The rookie guard had not made her WNBA debut until that moment due to a pending visa. 

Before the game, Muhl sported a grey sweatshirt that displayed a photo of her visa with an ‘approved’ stamp, hinting that the wait for her debut in the league was over.

After the game, Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn said Muhl will have opportunities to show her skills.

“Her physicality, her poise, her confidence … we will continue to put her in the mix in practice and she will have the opportunity to show what she can do.”

More News: Indiana Fever show promise in loss to Sun

In a contest that came down to the wire, many fans were still there in the dwindling seconds of the game. Clark, who had a chance to hoist up her first three-point buzzer-beater for the win, could not corral the inbound pass, ultimately being unable to take the shot.

Storm forward Victoria Vivians, who was a member of the Fever last season, proved to be a key component on defense down the stretch. Skylar Diggins-Smith, a Hoosier native, also made an impact in the contest.

WNBA player shooting a basketball over another WNBA player.
Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd (24) versus Indiana Fever guard Lexie Hull (10) on May 22, 2024 at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA. (Photo/Jane Gershovich, Seattle Storm)

Storm guard Jewell Loyd finished the contest with 32 points, eleven rebounds and six assists. 

“It was never about them,” Loyd said after the game. “It was always about us.” 

Loyd’s teammate Nneka Ogwumike put up 22 points and collected nine rebounds of her own in the win. Ezi Magbegor added 14 points and nine rebounds. 

Clark finished the contest with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell finished with 17 points while forward NaLyssa Smith contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds, notching another double-double this season. Aliyah Boston, last season’s Rookie of the Year winner, encountered foul trouble early, stifling her playing time.

Indiana Fever Seattle Storm rematch nears

After the game, Clark shared her feelings about being 0-5 to start her WNBA career. 

“You’re never happy to lose, it’s not fun, but at the same time, I think there are a lot of things to build on,” Clark said. “I am trying to be as positive as possible, continue to learn, continue to stack days, I know our first win will be right around the corner.”

The Indiana Fever will be able to tie up the regular-season series against the Seattle Storm on May 30 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. For ticket information, visit Indiana Fever Ticket Central.

Lastly, the Fever will take on the Los Angeles Sparks at 10 p.m. on May 24 in L.A. on WNBA League Pass.

Contact multi-media & senior sports reporter Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Follow him on X @3Noral. 

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