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May 23, 2024 9:28 pm

WNBA’s top two picks face off when Fever face Sparks

Caitlin Clark

The top two picks in last month’s WNBA draft clash on Friday when Cameron Brink and the Los Angeles Sparks host Caitlin Clark and the winless Indiana Fever.

Indiana fell to 0-5 after an 85-83 loss on Wednesday in Seattle, the first of a three-game road trip for the Fever. No. 1 overall pick and college basketball scoring record-setter Clark finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots in the loss.

Clark said playing at a faster tempo will be important for Indiana as it continues its development throughout the season.

“Playing a little faster in transition,” she said after the game. “When I can get the rebounds and go in transition, it’s really good for us. When I can get the ball in my hands a little more as the (point guard), I think I’m a little more successful at times.”

Clark is averaging 17.8 points per game to pace Indiana, but is shooting only 40.3 percent from the floor. The Fever’s other two players averaging double-digit points are also shooting below 48 percent. Kelsey Mitchell is averaging 12.8 points and shooting 35.5 percent, and NaLyssa Smith is scoring 11.6 points and hitting 47.9 percent of her shots.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, secured its first win of the season on Tuesday, outlasting the Washington Mystics 70-68. Lexie Brown scored 20 points in the win, while Dearica Hamby finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds.

Three games into the Sparks’ schedule, Hamby is averaging a WNBA-leading 13.7 rebounds per game. She has totaled at least nine boards and 17 points in each game.

Hamby has combined with Brink, this year’s No. 2 overall pick, in the Los Angeles frontcourt, with Brink operating effectively as a defensive stopper.

Brink’s 3.7 blocked shots per game rank second in the league through the early stretch of the season. One of her rejections helped preserve the win over Washington.

“She’s such a good rim-protector and helpside defender,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said of Brink. “She has to pick her spots on when to come and be a force around the rim. … She tends to want to chase the ball off the ball because she’s such a good rim protector. The challenge is (Brink has) got to be able to do both (defend in the lane and come out to the perimeter).”

–Field Level Media

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