Caitlin Clark achieves triple-double first by a WNBA rookie

Caitlin Clark achieves triple-double first by a WNBA rookie

Caitlin Clark spent her four years at Iowa rewriting the record books of Big Ten and Division I women’s basketball. Now, she’s doing the same in the WNBA. With 19 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds in the Indiana Fever’s 83-78 victory Saturday against the New York Liberty at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Clark became the first rookie in WNBA history to record a triple-double in a game.

It’s also the first triple-double by any player in the 24-year history of the Fever, who selected Clark with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Clark secured the triple-double with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter when she pulled down her 10th rebound of the afternoon.

“I think everybody was a little confused as to why they were going so nuts over a rebound,” Clark said after the game, laughing. “I mean, they can do that every time, but this was a little different.”

The 13 assists and 12 rebounds both matched career highs. It’s the fourth time in the past five games that Clark has dished out at least 10 assists. The West Des Moines native entered the day third in the WNBA in assists per game, with 7.1.

Clark’s production helped the Fever rally from a 10-point deficit with 6:05 remaining to knock off the Liberty, who came into the matchup with the best record in the WNBA. The win was Indiana’s sixth in its past nine games, improving its record to 9-13 following a 1-8 start to the season. The Fever currently holds the eighth and final spot in the WNBA playoffs.

For Clark, triple-doubles aren’t anything particularly new. She had 17 over the course of her four-year career at Iowa, where she led the Hawkeyes to back-to-back NCAA championship games while ending her time in college as the all-time leading scorer in Division I basketball.

Clark finished with a team-high 19 points for the Fever. She made seven of 17 shots from the field and three of her 12 3-pointers. In 22 WNBA games, each of which she has started, Clark is averaging 16.1 points, 7.4 assists, six rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 5.5 turnovers per game. A prolific shooter throughout her career, Clark is making 39.3% of her field goals and 33.1% of her 3s this season.

Indiana Fever rookie phenom Caitlin Clark has etched her name in the WNBA history books, becoming the first rookie in league history to record a triple-double in the team’s 83-78 victory over the New York Liberty on Saturday.

The Fever star reached the historic stat line with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, as the 22-year-old came down with a defensive rebound on a Kayla Thornton miss. Clark finished with 19 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds, for the first triple-double in Fever history.

“Obviously, it’s really cool. I mean my teammates have been finishing the ball really, really at a high rate, my assists numbers are because of them,” Clark said after the game. “Honestly, I’m just happy we won. I take a lot of pride in being able to do a lot of different things for this team.”

After having lost their first three meetings with the WNBA’s best Liberty, the Fever overcame an 11-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, going on an 11-0 run late to steal the victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Clark’s latest accomplishment comes a day after Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese extended her single-season record for double-doubles to 12. The former LSU star’s 12 consecutive double-doubles matched the all-time record set by all-time WNBA great Candace Parker, who achieved the feat across the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Having competed against each other in many memorable contests through their collegiate and early WNBA careers, Clark and Reese’s latest battle is for Rookie of the Year honors, with both being the clear-cut front runners. Reese and Clark were both recently named WNBA All-Stars. It’s the first time two rookies are WNBA All-Stars in the same season since 2014.

“I’m always going to make a case for my players,” Fever head coach Christie Sides said of Clark after the game. “First and foremost, she is the most competitive human being I’ve ever met. I really compare her to Diana Taurasi. She’s always looking to find ways to get better. She just wants to win; she just wants to win. She’s going to be my rookie of the year, every day.”

Reese was named WNBA Rookie of the Month for June. Clark, meanwhile, was named Rookie of the Month in May. Team WNBA will take on the USA Basketball Women’s National Team at the Footprint Center in Phoenix for a sold-out game on July 20.

Clark has consistently drawn huge crowds during her time in the WNBA. On Tuesday, 20,366 watched her Fever lose 88-69 against the Las Vegas Aces, the fifth-biggest crowd in league history and largest since 1999. The Fever are currently the No. 8 seed in the playoff race, sitting half-a-game behind Reese’s Chicago Sky for the seventh spot.

Caitlin Clark has accomplished plenty since joining the WNBA ranks in April. The league’s leading candidate for Rookie of the Year entered play Saturday averaging 16 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game during her first professional season. Clark improved upon most of those numbers Saturday while doing something no WNBA rookie before has achieved: She logged a triple-double.

Clark logged a triple-double in the Indiana Fever’s 83-78 win over the New York Liberty. Clark got off to a hot start shooting, scoring 11 of her 19 points in the first quarter and continued to show out as a high-end passer throughout the game with 13 assists. Entering the fourth quarter, she needed just three rebounds to reach a triple-double. She did so by grabbing a wide-open board with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation.

Clark’s 19-point, 12-rebound, and 13-assist triple-double was the first by a rookie in WNBA history. It also marked the first triple-double in the Fever’s history, which dates back to 2000.

Triple-doubles have become a bit more common in the WNBA’s recent history, but they still aren’t something that the league has seen a lot. There have been 33 total triple-doubles in WNBA history. Sheryl Swoopes recorded the first during the 1999 season while Caitlin Clark logged the most recent triple-double on July 6, 2024.

Alyssa Thomas is the WNBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, and it isn’t particularly close. The Connecticut Sun star has 10 of the league’s 33 all-time triple-doubles; no other player has more than four, and just five have multiple triple-doubles to their names.

Clark figures to eventually log a second triple-double during her career and join the exclusive list above. For now, she’ll have to settle for becoming the first rookie to log one and the first member of the Indiana Fever to do so.

Source: CNN, Des Moines Register

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