Fever’s Caitlin Clark draws in record crowd for Indiana debut: ‘Pretty unheard of’

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The Caitlin Clark effect is in full swing. 

The former Iowa star made her debut in Indiana on Thursday night in the Fever’s final preseason game against the Atlanta Dream, and fans flocked to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to watch the WNBA rookie in action. 

Caitlin Clark laces up

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, ties her sneakers before the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 9, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The crowd attendance set a record for the franchise, which averaged just 4,000 fans a game last season. 


The official attendance on Thursday night was more than triple at 13,028. 

“It was a lot of fun. I thought they were loud, I thought they were into it. It was fun to see some people in some Iowa stuff and then a lot of people in Fever gear,” Clark said during her postgame presser. 

“This is a preseason game on a Thursday night and there’s 13,000 people here. I think that just shows what it’s going to be like for us all season, and it’s going to help us. You know, these are going to be games at home that you’re going to need to win. So I’m excited for our home opener. I think it’s going to be a packed house, obviously, versus a really great team. 

Fever fans hold up signs

Young fans hold up signs supporting Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, #22, playing against the Atlanta Dream during a WNBA preseason game on May 9, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“It’s pretty incredible, 13,000 at a preseason game is pretty unheard of.” 


NaLyssa Smith, who led the team with 21 points, echoed that sentiment. 

“The energy in Gainbridge is huge for us. That’s what motivates us and pushes us to go that extra mile. I’m excited to see what the future holds with the fans and stuff – its an exciting time for us.” 

Clark picked up her first win in the WNBA in the Fever’s 83-80 comeback victory over Atlanta. She finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and six turnovers, going 4 of 12 from the field and 2 of 9 on 3s in 31 minutes.

Caitlin Clark signs autographs

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, signs autographs after the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 9, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)


For Clark, hitting 3s was not the highlight of her game. 

“I dont think I was that effective, honestly. I thought, more than anything, I did a really good job passing the ball… I don’t know. I think I got in the paint. Obviously, I would’ve like to make a couple more 3s, but sometimes that’s how you shoot it.”

The Fever’s season will start Tuesday with an away game against the Connecticut Sun. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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