Indiana Fever Falls Again: Caitlin Clark Highlights Defensive Struggles to Christie Sides, Signaling an Official Crisis?

In a game where Caitlin Clark delivered a strong performance with 20 points and nine assists, the Indiana Fever faced another setback on Thursday night, succumbing to the Seattle Storm with a 103-88 defeat.

Jewell Loyd’s impressive 22 points and Skylar Diggins-Smith’s 18 points along with nine assists propelled the Storm (5-3) to their highest-scoring game of the season. Nneka Ogwumike also contributed significantly with 17 points for Seattle.

Despite Clark’s efforts, including three successful 3-pointers and playing almost the entire game in front of a crowd of 15,022, the Fever fell to 1-8, marking the second-worst record in the league.

“The third quarter was our downfall,” Clark admitted. “Our defensive rotations were off. … It wasn’t about our offense; it was our defense. You can’t expect to win when you allow 103 points.”

Seattle, leading 47-41 at halftime, initiated the third quarter with a commanding 12-2 run. The Storm dominated the period, making 12 of 17 shots to outscore the Fever 34-18.

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“Composure played a huge role,” Loyd explained regarding their third-quarter success. “Securing defensive stops allowed us to flow and make plays effortlessly. That’s our strong suit.”

Loyd, the league’s top scorer, previously notched a season-high 32 points in a May 22 home game against Indiana.

NaLyssa Smith, reinstated in the starting lineup due to Temi Fagbenle’s left foot injury, scored 15 of her team-high 23 points in the first half and added 10 rebounds, reaching her 1,000th career point milestone.

“We aim to win,” Smith declared. “I’m eager for victory. Losing repeatedly is tough.”

As the gap widened, Fever coach Christie Sides received a technical foul for contesting a non-call on Clark’s drive to the basket. Clark also got a technical after a heated exchange with Seattle’s Victoria Vivians.

“Just two competitive individuals,” Clark remarked about the confrontation with Vivians.

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