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Caitlin Clark helps guide Fever past Sky – Daily News

Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky reacts after a foul on Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Caitlin Clark and Aliyah Boston are finally aligning and, of course, it looks like Indiana finally has a winning combination.

The rookie guard overcame another physically demanding challenge from Chicago by finishing with 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as Boston produced its third straight double-double and led the Fever to a 91-83 win over the Sky on Sunday.

For Clark, it was her best day as a pro. She made 7 of 11 shots, three three-pointers and – and celebrated her first consecutive wins of her WNBA career.

“I think we’re moving the ball and I think as soon as we gave it up, people got it back in the half court,” Clark said after committing a more manageable five turnovers in nearly 37 minutes. “I thought we were really good on the ball screen action, I thought we had some really good writing.”

Boston, last year’s WNBA Rookie of the Year, had 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Kelsey Mitchell added 17 points and NaLyssa Smith had 15. The balanced scoring attack was a welcome change for the Fever (5-10), who now lead the Sky. 2-0 in the season series.

But just like in the first match two weeks ago, Clark took a hard shot that knocked her to the ground, this time when college rival Angel Reese’s right elbow struck Clark in the head.

The difference this time, unlike Chennedy Carter’s play, was that the officials upgraded the foul to a flagrant-1 after a replay review, giving Clark two free throws and Indiana the next possession.

“The right decision was made at that moment,” Fever coach Christie Sides said. “Just make the right decision at those moments, then we can move on. But if we don’t make the right decision in those moments, there is a problem and they made the right decision tonight.

Reese disagreed with Sides’ assessment and complained that it was just a basketball game.

Either way, the decision will only fuel the burgeoning regional rivalry.

Marina Mabrey scored 22 points to lead the Sky (4-9), who have lost four straight games.

Carter, whose hard shot hit the unsuspecting Clark on an inbounds pass two weeks ago, had 18 points and four assists. League officials later upgraded Carter’s foul to a flagrant-1.

Reese had 11 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Kamilla Cardoso had 10 points and 1 rebound on Sunday.

But the lingering impact of Clark-Carter’s play and the long-awaited rematch between Reese and Clark had the house packed again at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, which was buzzing during a game that featured heated moments, such as Clark punching Dana Evans’ arm away after Evans had hooked Clark and Reese as they pushed. an Indiana player after losing a rebound.

Fans cheered Carter and Reese every time they fouled, and Reese nearly lost her cool after drawing foul No. 5. The officials assessed a delay of game warning when a frustrated Reese hit the ball back to them and then continued arguing as she walked. the court.

“Either I’m going to be angry and sad about (loss) or I’m going to stand up and figure out what I can do better and look myself in the mirror and figure out what I can do better for the next game,” Reese said.

But on the floor, Indiana’s dynamic duo helped the Fever survive another close game.

Indiana built a 47-43 lead with a 12-6 run to end the first half. Marina Mabrey then scored eight points in a 12-4 spurt to open the second half and give the Sky a 55-51 lead.