SEATTLE STORM

Video: Caitlin Clark brings record crowd to game with Storm

May 22, 2024, 10:43 PM | Updated: May 23, 2024, 12:04 am

Seattle Storm vs Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever...

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever during a 2024 game in Seattle. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE โ€“ A record crowd of 18,343 packed Climate Pledge Arena on Wednesday night to see the Seattle Storm take on basketball sensation Caitlin Clark.

Caitlin Clark, other rookies already huge for WNBA attendance, ratings

The Storm spoiled the No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick’s Seattle debut and held off the Indiana Fever 85-83 to improve to 2-3. Clark and the Fever remain winless through five games.

The 22-year-old Clark captivated the country while setting the NCAA scoring record and leading the University of Iowa to the women’s national title earlier this year, and she had plenty of fans in attendance in the Emerald City. The star rookie was swarmed for autographs pregame, and her introduction elicited a loud cheer from the crowd, but nothing that quite rivaled the noise made during the Storm’s introductions.

Clark’s appearance also brought a number of Seattle sports stars out to Climate Pledge Arena. Former Seattle Sonic and UW Husky Detlef Schrempf, ex-NBA and UW star Isaiah Tomas, former Storm forward Gabby Williams and a number of Seattle Seahawks, including wide receiver Tyler Lockett, were in attendance. Several members of the Seahawks even came on to the court during a timeout early in the fourth quarter to throw shirts to the crowd.

Clark finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists but was quiet for most of the first three quarters with Storm guards Skylar Diggins-Smith and Sami Whitcomb on her hip throughout the night. However, Clark showed just how dangerous she could be with 16 of her points in the second half, which kept Indiana in it until the end.

Here’s a look at scene:

First quarter

Clark drew the big crowd, but the story of the game early on was Jewell Loyd and a solid defensive effort by the Storm. Loyd poured in 12 first-quarter points and chipped in four rebounds. Center Ezi Magbegor added six points, four boards and one emphatic blocked shot. Offseason addition Nneka Ogwumike also scored the team’s first bucket and had four points in the first in her first game back from injury. Clark was held scoreless in the frame and had two assists and one rebound.

Second quarter

Much of the crowd finally got what they came for and let out a roar early in the second quarter when Clark checked in with her first basket on an uncontested layup to pull her team within 25-20. Clark added a free throw and another bucket and went into halftime with five points, but Loyd and Ogwumike kept the Storm in front with nine and eight points, respectively in the frame. Seattle led 44-40 at the intermission.

Third quarter

Clark knocked down her first triple of the game and Fever and Storm and traded punches throughout most of the third period. However, Clark then provided the spark her team needed to grab its first lead of the night. She hit a step-back 3-pointer to pull Indiana even at 54 and found teammate Lexie Hull, a Spokane native, with a nifty pass in transition for a layup the lead. Clark added another bucket and assist as the Fever took a 60-58 lead into the final period. One of the loudest cheers of the night came when Storm rookie Nika Muhl made her debut in the third quarter, and she nearly sent the crowd into a frenzy when she just missed her first shot. Muhl missed the Storm’s first four games due to Visa approval issues.

Fourth quarter

The Storm answered back quickly and erupted for a 7-0 run in the first 1 minute, 10 seconds of the final period to pull back ahead 65-60 and trigger a Fever timeout. Indiana chipped away at the lead an went ahead 72-71 on Kelsey Mitchell’s 3-pointer, but Whitcomb responded with a bucket to regain the lead. Whitcomb came up big in the quarter for the Storm and provided all 10 of her points. The Fever kept it interesting until the end, pulling within 83-81 on a layup from Mitchell and then 84-83 on a pair of free throws from Clark. The Fever then won a challenge on a jump ball call that gave them ball down one in the final seconds, but Clark couldn’t get off a shot and Seattle forced and won a jump ball. After Ogwumike split a pair of free throws, Indiana got off a desperation half-court heave that was well off the mark.

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