Kentucky Derby

Sky’s Chennedy Carter declines to talk about foul on Caitlin Clark as discussion of physicality, officiating continues

Sky's Chennedy Carter declines to talk about foul on Caitlin Clark as discussion of physicality, officiating continues

INDIANAPOLIS — Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter checked Caitlin Clark to the ground before an inbound play late in the third quarter of the Indiana Fever’s 71-70 win over the Sky at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday. It was called a personal foul without a review.

Carter declined to comment on the play after the game, and Fever head coach Christie Sides said the team intends to send it to the league for review, as it’s been doing throughout the season for plays the franchise thinks are fouls or should be upgraded.

The play was ruled an away-from-the-ball foul in a game Indiana led by four with 15.8 seconds left in the third. Clark’s single free throw off the call proved the difference in the Commissioner’s Cup opener. Carter, who scored a team-high 19 points off the bench, was asked postgame to talk about the play, what was said and what led to it.

“Next question,” Carter said.

Before the foul, the two battled for a loose ball on the Fever’s end and appeared to engage in words while they went back down the court. Carter hit a jumper over Kelsey Mitchell, and as Aliyah Boston waited to inbound the ball to Clark, Carter put her shoulder into Clark near the baseline.

Later in the postgame interview, a reporter began to ask a question and said it looked like Clark turned into Carter.

“I ain’t answering no Caitlin Clark questions,” Carter said.

A reporter asked if Clark said anything to her.

“I don’t know what she said,” Carter said, to which a reporter asked if Carter said anything to the rookie point guard.

“I didn’t say anything,” Carter said before Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon interrupted to say “that’s enough.” When asked about it, Weatherspoon said, “All they’re doing is competing.”

The play could have been upgraded to a flagrant foul or technical. The ball was not in bounds nor was Boston actively putting it in bounds. Clark said she wasn’t expecting the hit from Carter, and she was focused on letting her play do the talking.

“It’s a physical game,” Clark said. “Go make the free throw and then execute on offense. I feel like that’s kind of what we did. It is what it is, I guess, I don’t know.”

Chicago Sky guard Michaela Onyenwere plays tight defense on Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark on Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sides said she was proud of Clark keeping her cool and not retaliating in a tight game. Sides said she didn’t see the play live, but said players believed it was a reviewable play. Lesser plays have been reviewed by referees throughout this season.

“I’ll probably send it in to the league,” Sides said. “That’s what we keep doing. We just keep sending all these clips into the league, and they keep telling us why we're not right about our calls, or what we think [about them]. But we're going to keep doing it. These guys are going to start getting calls. They've got to start getting calls.”

The physical nature of the league has been an adjustment for Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. She’s being played hard with teams blitzing her and putting their best defenders on her every night. The Fever, who have already played 10 games with the second game of a back-to-back concluding Sunday, have talked a lot about officiating.

“Hopefully, they start taking a better look at some of the things that we see happening, or we think is happening,” Sides said. “[I’m] just more happy that Caitlin handled it the way she did. It's tough to keep getting hammered the way she does and to not get rewarded with free throws.”

Clark, who averages 4.8 free throws per game, voiced frustration this last week about the physicality and missed calls. She said it felt like, “I’m getting hammered,” after a loss to Seattle on Thursday. Clark and Sides drew technicals in the game for things said to the referees.

“I'm just at the point where you accept it,” Clark said Saturday. “And don't retaliate. Just let them hit you. Be what it is. Don't let it get inside your head. And know it’s coming. I think at this point, I know I'm going to take a couple hard shots again. And that's what it is. I’m not going to let it bother me. Just stay in the game.”

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