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Caitlin Clark’s first 30-point game by the numbers: Fever rookie makes history in another defeat

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The Indiana Fever’s rough start to the season continued on Tuesday with an 88-82 defeat to the visiting Los Angeles Sparks. They are now 1-7, which is their worst start since 2021, and sit in 11th place. There was one silver lining from the result, however, which was a historic performance from Caitlin Clark. 

Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, recorded her first career 30-point game, finishing with 30 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals, three blocks on 7 of 16 from the field and 13 of 15 from the line. Though she did struggle, once again, in the turnover department with seven, the outing represented a significant milestone for Clark. 

Here’s a look at her big night by the numbers:

30

A minute into the game, Clark broke free off a screen and buried a 3-pointer after a feed from Kristy Wallace. So began the best scoring effort of Clark’s young professional career. She wasn’t super efficient, but she shot the ball much better than she did in the last few games. While a few uncontested layups certainly helped, she also had a tough finish over multiple defenders and knocked down three more triples. Clark is the first rookie to score 30 points in a game since Rhyne Howard in 2022. 

13/15

Clark’s long-range shooting is more fun to talk about, but a big reason she set the Division I scoring record at Iowa is because she got to the line time and again. She averaged about seven free throws per game in her last three seasons, and finished second in the country last season with 221 made free throws. 

Those easy points are harder to come by in the WNBA for a few reasons: she’s a rookie, her team is bad and her opponents aren’t constantly overmatched. Against the Sparks, though, Clark was able to force her way to the line 15 times and she made 13 of those freebies. 

Clark is just the second player to take at least 15 free throws in a game this season, along with Kahleah Copper, and is the first rookie to do so since Howard in 2022. She is only one of five rookies to do so in the last decade. 

30/5/5/3/3

Clark did a little bit of everything on Tuesday, and in the process joined some exclusive clubs. 

  • She joined Jewell Loyd and A’ja Wilson as the only players with at least 30 points, five rebounds and five assists in a game this season.
  • She became the first rookie to have a 30/5/5 game since Sabrina Ionescu in 2020, and just the eighth rookie ever to pull off the feat.
  • She is the only rookie ever with at least 30 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks in a game, and joined Breanna Stewart, Angel McCoughtry and Diana Taurasi as the fourth player in WNBA history to hit those numbers.

2002

The Indiana Fever made their WNBA debut in 2000, and in the 24 years since then they’ve had a lot of talented rookies walk through the door. Clark is just the second one, however, to reach the 30-point mark, joining Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings. 

Catchings put together one of the best rookie campaigns ever, as she won Rookie of the Year, made the All-Star Game, earned All-WNBA First Team honors, and finished third in MVP voting and second in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Her 32-point, 12-rebound, four-assist, three-steal, two-block effort on Aug. 7, 2002, was just a sample of her impact. 

Clark has a long way to go to match Catchings’ impact on the Fever and the league, but she’s off to a strong start in her first two weeks. 

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