Caitlin Clark posts double-double, Fever win third straight

ByABC News
June 20, 2024, 1:19 AM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kelsey Mitchell and Aliyah Boston scored 22 points apiece, Caitlin Clark had her second double-double and the Indiana Fever won their third straight game with an 88-81 victory over the Washington Mystics on Wednesday night.

Clark had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds plus 6 assists and 4 steals for the Fever (5-10). She also had six turnovers. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Clark is the first rookie in WNBA history to have 40 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists in a two-game span; she was coming off a 23-point, 8-rebound, 9-assist performance in a win over the Chicago Sky on Sunday.

Both of Clark's double-doubles this season have come with points and rebounds, though she joked of her 12 boards, "Don't get used to it."

"Sometimes the ball just bounces your way a little bit more," Clark said. "A lot of the times, the people I'm guarding are getting back on defense, so I have a little more free rein of like going and chasing the ball while our bigs are probably boxing out and hitting a little bit more. So credit to them. I think we're really good when I can get it off the rim and push in transition, so I take a lot of pride in trying to chase it down off the rim and then really go."

NaLyssa Smith added 11 points, and Erica Wheeler had nine points off the bench in a big second half.

Indiana, which has won five of seven, has its first four-game winning streak at home since August 2015.

"The confidence that we've been able to build from the last three games is, you know, continue to take a step forward and learn each game, and if we do happen to lose one, how are we going to respond?" Clark said. "That's been a big thing for us, too. The last game we lost, we found a way to respond and string off three straight wins. I think we've gotten a lot better over the course of these last three games and we're continuing to build on that."

Ariel Atkins had 27 points to lead the Mystics (2-12), who were missing injured starters Brittney Sykes and Shakira Austin. Karlie Samuelson had 16 points, and Stephanie Dolson had 14.

Down nine entering the fourth quarter, Washington started with a 9-2 run, pulling within 70-68 on a three-point play by Emily Engstler with seven minutes to go. Wheeler quickly answered with a jumper, Clark had a steal that led to Wheeler feeding Mitchell for a layup, and then Clark hit a 3 off a Wheeler assist to make it 77-68 with 5:05 left.

Wheeler's pullup at 3:25 pushed the lead to 82-71. Clark's two free throws with 12 seconds remaining wrapped it up.

Indiana never trailed but was never up by more than seven in the first half before settling for a 46-53 lead at the break. The Fever shot 55% in the first half, with Smith, Mitchell and Boston all in double figures.

The Mystics were 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the first quarter but drilled six in the second. They finished with 11 on 34 attempts (32%).

It was more of the same in the third quarter until Boston hit a rare and late 3-pointer -- her fourth of the season -- that pushed the lead to nine. The Fever, who had 10 free throws in the first half, had 11 in the third quarter, helping them to a 68-59 lead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.