WNBA notebook: Caitlin Clark’s triple-double meaningful on multiple levels

Caitlin Clark
Credit: Grace Smith/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

When New York Liberty forward Kayla Thornton missed the mark on a 3-point attempt with 7:07 left to play on Saturday against the Indiana Fever, Caitlin Clark reached up with both hands and secured the rebound.

It was in that moment that Clark notched the first triple-double of her WNBA career, which was also the first triple-double by any rookie in the history of a league that began play in 1997. In an 83-78 win — the Fever’s first over the Liberty since May 2022 — Clark finished with 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, leading her team in all three categories.

Simply put, Clark’s triple-double was historic and remarkable in more ways than one.

Consider that Clark is just the third player in WNBA history to have at least 19 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists in a single game, according to HerHoopStats. It was also the first triple-double in franchise history for the Fever. And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, 996 rookies had played at least one WNBA game entering Saturday, and none of them before Clark had a triple-double of any kind.

Also Read: WNBA Rookie of the Year race, see where Caitlin Clark lands

“I think we’re really good when I can get the ball off the glass and just go in transition and find my teammates and set them up,” Clark said. “Obviously 13 assists, that means my teammates made 13 shots off my passes so that goes to them.”

For Clark, she is now 18-0 in college and professional games in which she has notched a triple-double. She had 17 of them across her four seasons at Iowa.

Related: WNBA TV ratings, the Caitlin Clark effect already in action

One more stat, according to ESPN: Clark’s triple-double was the first in WNBA history against a team that had the league’s best record. And for the Fever, beating the Liberty is a sign of real growth, considering New York had beaten Indiana by an average margin of 27.7 points in each of their three previous meetings this season.

“I’m just happy we won,” Clark said. “I take a lot of pride in being able to do a lot of different things for this team. I think we’re really good when I can get the ball off the glass and just go in transition and find my teammates and set them up.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, in Seattle, the Chicago Sky beat the Storm 88-84 behind a season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds from Angel Reese, in which the LSU product drained a pair of 3-pointers. Reese’s 12th consecutive double-double extended her rookie record and is now tied with Candace Parker for the all-time streak.

In short, the Rookie of the Year race between Clark and Reese is heating up as the second half of the WNBA season gets underway.

Team Australia filled with WNBA experience

The Australian women’s national team announced its squad for the Olympics on Saturday and unveiled a roster laden with former and current WNBA players. Current players from the league include Bec Allen (Mercury), Ezi Magbegor (Storm), Jade Melbourne (Mystics), Alanna Smith (Lynx), Steph Talbot (Sparks), Kristy Wallace (Fever) and Sami Whitcomb (Storm).

Also Read: Indiana Fever attendance 2024

The squad also includes former three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson, who will be playing on her fifth Olympics team. Jackson led the Opals to medals in each of her last four appearances in the Olympics (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012).

The 43-year-old, who last played in the WNBA in 2012 and has her No. 15 jersey retired by the Storm, was a seven-time All-Star and led the league in scoring three times.

Collier out with foot ailment

Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier missed Saturday’s 74-67 win over the Washington Mystics with a plantar fasciitis condition in her left foot. Collier has dealt with plantar fasciitis since she was in college at UConn and left the Lynx’s loss to the Connecticut Sun on Thursday near the end of the third quarter.

Cheryl Reeve, Collier’s coach with the Lynx and the U.S. Olympic team, says it’s “too soon” to tell how long she’ll be out for.

“(The Olympics) is certainly on our minds. There’s no way I’m going to sit here and say we aren’t considering that,” Reeve said. “The situation she’s in, it’s best for us to just kind of take it day by day.”

Colorado’s Sherrod gets another W opportunity

Before playing the Fever on Saturday, the Liberty signed Jaylyn Sherrod to a seven-day contract. Sherrod, a two-time All-Pac-12 selection at Colorado, went unselected in the WNBA draft this past spring, but joined the Liberty for the preseason and featured in two exhibitions before getting waived.

–Mitchell Northam covers the WNBA for Field Level Media.

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