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Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever are navigating one of many hardest WNBA begins in latest historical past

For as much as Caitlin Clark has brought attention to the WNBA — and she’s certainly had great success doing that so far — she has struggled to bring wins to the Fever. Friday’s win over the Sparks, which included some dagger 3-pointers from Clark, was the first victory of the season for Indiana. After

Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever are navigating one of many hardest WNBA begins in latest historical past

For as a lot as Caitlin Clark has introduced consideration to the WNBA — and he or she’s actually had nice success doing that to date — she has struggled to convey wins to the Fever. Friday’s win over the Sparks, which included some dagger 3-pointers from Clark, was the primary victory of the season for Indiana.

After enjoying the Sparks, Indiana will face the Aces on Saturday in Las Vegas for a back-to-back. It’s going to even be the third highway recreation in 4 days with the Fever shedding to the Storm in Seattle on Wednesday.

All that comes after the Fever spent the primary 4 video games successfully alternating matchups in opposition to the New York Liberty and Connecticut Solar, two of the three greatest groups by document final season.

To name it a gauntlet of a schedule could be doing it a disservice. Actually, the extra apt time period could be unprecedented. As Rebecca Lobo of ESPN identified, the open to the season for the Fever, which is able to function 11 video games in 20 days whole, is simply the second time that’s occurred in almost 20 years.

Context: the @IndianaFever are the one @wnba crew this season scheduled to play 11 video games in 20 days. It has occurred just one different time since 2007. The 2011 Mystics went 1-10 of their comparable stretch and completed the season 6-28 (final within the East). (Analysis: Mackenzie Kraemer)

— Rebecca Lobo (@RebeccaLobo) May 24, 2024

It wasn’t laborious to see this coming for the Fever as soon as the schedule was launched. However projecting it and seeing it play out are two various things.

According to Massey Ratings, heading into Friday’s recreation in Los Angeles, the Fever have had the second-toughest power of schedule this season. Solely Chicago, who has performed three video games to date in opposition to top-four groups from final season, ranks forward of them.

The three highway video games the Fever have performed this 12 months are tied for probably the most of any crew to date. By the tip of Saturday evening following their back-to-back, they’ll sit alone on the high of that checklist. That’s about as grueling a begin as there may very well be, charter planes or not.

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The results of which were aplenty for the Fever, however none extra notable than the actual fact they’ve nonetheless but to observe because the season began. It’s a truth Indiana head coach Christie Sides has talked about a handful of instances this season.

Previous to Monday’s recreation in opposition to the Solar, Sides was requested if she knew when the subsequent, or first, observe would come. Her focus, nevertheless, was on lastly giving the gamers a relaxation.

“I’m trying ahead to giving the gamers a time without work subsequent Sunday,” Sides mentioned. “I’ve received this younger group who’re preventing their a–es off. They’re. They’re studying. I really like this group of individuals. It began final 12 months and they’re simply rising collectively. It’s a tricky, powerful scenario for them however I respect their competitiveness and their means to return in and keep optimistic. That’s laborious to do generally.”

It could be a bit naive to not assume this schedule was deliberate by the WNBA. Of the 5 highway video games the Fever may have had after the upcoming weekend, 4 of them may have come in opposition to the highest three groups within the league final season and in Los Angeles, arguably the league’s greatest market.

Caitlin Clark attracts consideration and eyes to the sport. And in case you have been drawing up a great begin to the season to maximise the quantity of individuals she’s going to attract, it could embody New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, all locations Clark and the Fever may have performed within the first seven video games.

Finally, Indiana will get a protracted, prolonged break. After this opening 11-game stretch, which concludes on Sunday, June 2, in New York, the Fever can be off till Friday, June 7. At that time, the schedule seems to be way more “regular,” with a number of days between video games, permitting for observe time and off days.

However attending to that time would require the franchise to navigate one of the brutal schedules in latest league historical past.

The Fever will tip off in opposition to the Aces in Las Vegas on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. The sport can be televised on NBA TV and WNBA League Go. You’ll be able to observe Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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