WNBA: Fans willing to pay premium to see Fever, Sky

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Rookie Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever are playing to sellout crowds on the road, and Sunday’s meeting with the host Chicago Sky won’t be an exception.

In fact, as of Friday, ticket prices were averaging about $350 — an unheard of number for a WNBA game.

The two teams already have met twice this season in Indianapolis, with Clark squaring off against fellow rookie Angel Reese, with whom she had history in college.

Such interest would seem to bestow a certain distinction on this matchup and others between the Eastern Conference foes, although many players insist otherwise. A “rivalry” this isn’t, they say. Until it is.

“For us, it’s just a game of basketball,” Clark said. “But if [rivalry talk] is going to help move the game forward, absolutely, that’s amazing. That’s what it should be.”

Record television viewership tuned in for the most recent Fever-Sky game, a 91-83 victory for host Indiana last Sunday. The Fever (7-10) enter on a four-game winning streak as they continue a five-game road trip that started with Friday’s 91-79 win at Atlanta in front of a record WNBA crowd in the city.

NaLyssa Smith (21 points), Kelsey Mitchell (18), and Clark (16) led five Fever players in double figures. Indiana has won four straight games for the first time since 2015.

Chicago snapped a four-game skid with Thursday’s 83-72 win against the Dallas Wings in the opener of a four-game homestand.

Chennedy Carter and Marina Mabrey paced the Sky with 19 points apiece, while Reese contributed 16 points and a career-best 18 rebounds.

That marked the seventh straight game in which Reese has posted a double-double, setting a WNBA rookie record.

To Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon, the record simply is a byproduct of Reese’s intensity.

“She’s just out there to win. She’s not out there to break records,” Weatherspoon said. “She’s out there to win, just competing every night and playing hard. It’s paying off for her and it’s paying off for us. We’re super proud of her. There’s some greater things to come.”

Fellow rookie Kamilla Cardoso flirted with her own double-double for Chicago (5-9), contributing nine points and 11 boards.

Cardoso’s South Carolina Gamecocks topped Clark and Iowa for the women’s NCAA tournament title in April. Iowa got past Reese and LSU in the Elite Eight, avenging a loss to the Tigers in the 2023 national championship game.

Indiana is 2-0 against Chicago this season, winning both previous meetings at home.

–Field Level Media

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