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Caitlin Clark

by | May 20, 2024 | CST Articles | 0 comments

Caitlin Clark missed another basket and threw her hands up in frustration. Obviously fed up with her scoring output — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft had just two points through almost 30 minutes of play — she struggled as the New York Liberty blew out Indiana 102-66 in the Fever’s home opener.

More than 17,000 fans packed Gainbridge Fieldhouse Thursday evening, many of them in Clark jerseys and T-shirts, eager to get a look at one of the biggest superstars on the planet. They’d watched the highlights, the “how-did-she-see-that?!” passes and the logo 3s, and came to see The Show in person. 

And then it kind of … fell flat. Again. Clark scored, but not like she used to. Her team got run out of its own gym.

What, did you think Clark was going to walk into this league and dominatefrom Day 1? Lift the Fever to WNBA title contention immediately? Rewrite the professional record books all because she was a college superstar

The single most important reality to understand: The WNBA is full of grown women who are no strangers to college superstars. These are veteran players, many of whom have been playing professionally for a decade or more. They have seen every move in the book and defended most of them first-hand. They respect Clark’s game, but they are not awed by her. 

This is not to say that Clark won’t become a great WNBA player. But everyone who thought she’d immediately separate herself from All-Stars and championship veterans clearly hasn’t been paying attention to the W or respecting the players who have dominated this league for a while. 

Clark has plenty of time left to establish herself as a superstar. Provided she stays healthy, she has a long career ahead of her. She can, and will, get into a groove. It might even come this year — like maybe after she has 30 practices under her belt, instead of just 12. 

If anything, it’s a good thing it’s taking Clark time to adjust — it speaks to how good the league is, and with more eyeballs on the WNBA, fans will learn there are plenty of other players worth supporting in addition to Clark. There’s no need for anyone, including Clark, to panic. 

Yes, there’s a lot of hype around Clark. There was a lot of hype around LeBron James his rookie season also. Kobe Bryant, too. Do you remember the first years for those generational talents? James didn’t make the All-Star team, and Bryant played about 15 minutes a game. I’d say their careers turned out just fine. 

There’s no question Clark has helped elevate the women’s game. But up here, there are lots of ballers.