Preakness Stakes

Fever defeat Sky, 71–70, in first WNBA meeting between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese

Fever defeat Sky, 71–70, in first WNBA meeting between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark faced each other for the first time on a WNBA court Saturday, but it was veteran Kelsey Mitchell who seized the spotlight in the Indiana Fever's 71–70 win.

The seventh-year guard scored 18 points to lead the Fever. Surprisingly, Mitchell went scoreless in the first quarter but picked it up in the second and fourth frames, becoming more aggressive going to the basket. NaLyssa Smith added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Fever, who won their first home game of the season and second overall.

Chennedy Carter led all scorers with 19 points off the bench for the Sky on 8-for-12 shooting with four rebounds and six assists. The four-year veteran was a dominant presence on the floor, jawing at Fever players and checking them hard defensively.

Marina Mabrey added 15 points for Chicago, but missed a free throw with 6.1 seconds remaining that could have helped tie the score at 71. Indiana was able to prevent the Sky from fouling with a pass into the backcourt that allowed time to run out.

Clark scored 11 points with eight rebounds and six assists, but struggled with her shot after hitting her first two 3-pointers. She also had five turnovers, which continue to be a problem as Clark and her teammates learn each other's tendencies.

Reese finished with 13 rebounds — eight offensive — and eight points, shooting 2-for-9 from the floor. But she made her presence felt defensively when Clark ran through the lane and most notably with an elbow on her rival as she boxed out for a rebound in the fourth quarter.

Saturday's matchup was the season debut for Kamilla Cardoso, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's WNBA Draft from national champion South Carolina. Playing against former Gamecocks teammate Aliyah Boston, the 6-foot-7 center quickly established herself near the basket, scoring six points on 3-for-3 shooting.

The Fever had difficulty matching up with Cardoso in the post, yet the Sky got away from feeding her the ball after that impressive start. Smith scoring down low and tougher defense by Boston likely played a role in that.

Cardoso finished with 11 points and six rebounds, shooting 5-for-7 from the floor and leaving no doubt as to whether she can make an impact for the Sky.

After Thursday's loss to the Seattle Storm, Clark told reporters, "I feel like I'm getting hammered." Opponents not getting called for fouls has contributed in part to Clark's technical fouls. With three for the season, she is now nearly halfway to the seven techs that would draw an automatic one-game suspension under WNBA rules.

The Sky continued the strategy of roughing up Clark, checking her hard as she came through the lane and worked for post position. Late in the third quarter, Carter knocked down Clark while waiting for an inbounds pass. Carter was called for a common foul on the play, but many thought it warranted a Flagrant 1.

The Fever next hit the road for a Sunday evening matchup with the New York Liberty (6–2). Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET. The Sky (3–4) host the Liberty on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. Both games will be televised on NBA TV.

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