USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

“She’s got those leg muscles,” is how Caitlin Clark impressed her coach Christie Sides on the very first day of her training camp. However, those very legs broke the sweat on the head coach’s forehead tonight. The entire Gainbridge Fieldhouse came to a halt as the crowd of over 17,000 saw their hopes almost slip away in the last five minutes to halftime. The rookie fell hard to the ground to make Sides think of alternate plans to continue their rather impressive run tonight.

Sharing the feelings during that moment in her post-game press conference, Sides said, “I was worried. A lot worried.” However, she quickly went to praise the rookie, who returned to the floor and played through the pain. Impressed, she said, “You know, she is tough. She takes hits. I mean, you’ve seen the videos of her taking these hits on the screens. I’m not sure if she stepped on somebody’s or came down. I haven’t seen it. But when she didn’t get up, I knew it was serious.”

Sides applauded Caitlin Clark, who got off the floor herself and also wrapped tape herself to return to the floor.“She’s tough. She didn’t want anybody to help her off the court. I love that about her. I love that’s what she’s about. She walked it off herself, did what she needed to do to come back in the game,” she added. Despite the twisted ankle, Caitlin Clark managed to grab 17 points in tonight’s matchup and urged the fans to keep cheering and showing up. However, helping her feel better even after not being on the court were her subs, Temi Fagbenle and Kelsey Mitchell. Here is how the two grabbed double digits tonight.


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Temi Fagbenle and Kelsey Mitchell take the floor for Caitlin Clark

With almost 5 minutes left on the clock, Kelsey Mitchell, who was the top performer for Indiana last season, came to take the spot Clark left vacant. In those approximate 6 minutes, Mitchell drew 6 points, including 1 of 1 from beyond the arc. Later, Fagbenle subbed in for the rookie, with the clock reading 4:54 in the third quarter. The vet grabbed 6 points and 2 rebounds in almost 3 minutes when Caitlin Clark was not on the floor. She further continued the night while Clark subbed in for Aliyah Boston.

USA Today via Reuters

Caitlin Clark praised Fagbenle in the post-game press conference, remarking, “Temi’s leadership is really good. She’s somebody that’s so vocal and she comes in and gives 110% every single minute that she is on the floor. She runs the floor as good as anybody.” The 6-foot-4 forward ended the losing night with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. At the same time, Mitchell too had good numbers, with 17 points and 5 assists.

The Fever is now coming into the game. However, their opponents are also ready to take them down. While the team’s chemistry is improving with every passing day, it will be interesting to see how they perform in their upcoming games with a busy schedule up ahead.