Caitlin Clark returns from injury scare; Fever fall to 0-4 as Sun prevail in thriller

Caitlin Clark remains in search of her first WNBA win. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Caitlin Clark remains in search of her first WNBA win. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Caitlin Clark returned to the court from an injury scare on Monday, but her Indiana Fever fell short in an 88-84 thriller against the Connecticut Sun.

Clark rolled her left ankle in the second quarter. The Fever went into halftime with a 44-41 lead despite Clark’s absence for the final 5:32 of the half. Clark returned in the third quarter and helped the Fever rally from a nine-point second-half deficit. But the Sun capitalized on multiple Clark mistakes down the stretch that helped secure the win.

Clark finished with 17 points, five assists and five turnovers and remains in search of her first WNBA win since being selected first overall in April’s draft. She shot 5 of 11 from the field and 3 of 7 from 3-point distance. The Sun, meanwhile, improved to 3-0 behind strong efforts from DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas, who led all players with 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists while shooting 8 of 14 from the field.

Clark left the game midway through the second quarter with what looked like an ankle injury. She rolled her left ankle while on defense and fell to the court. She immediately grabbed her ankle and eventually stood up in obvious pain.

She then limped to the sideline and left for the Fever locker room with a trainer.

Clark returned to the bench before the end of the first half, and her limp was gone. She didn’t return to the court before halftime, but sat on the sideline while stretching her ankle with a band. She’d posted eight points, two rebounds and two turnovers and shot 2 of 6 from the field prior to her injury scare.

She returned to the lineup for the start of the third quarter. The Sun opened the half with a 19-7 run to turn their three-point halftime deficit into a 60-51 advantage. The Fever cut their deficit to 64-61 by the end of the third quarter and retook the lead at 65-64 early in the fourth.

After failing to record an assist through the first three quarters, Clark assisted on three straight fourth-quarter buckets as the Fever mounted their rally. Then with 7:16 remaining, she pulled up for a logo 3-pointer to retake the lead at 70-68.

But turnovers continued to plague Clark, who’s struggled with ball control early in her WNBA career. She turned the ball over on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter on steals by Thomas. On the second steal, Clark committed a transition take foul, then was whistled for a technical foul for complaining to officials.

Clark then picked up her fifth personal foul on a Tyasha Harris and-1 that Harris converted to give the Sun a 79-76 lead.

The Fever would rally to tie the game one last time at 84-84 with a Clark assist to set up an Aliyah Boston jumper with 29 seconds remaining.

But the Sun took the lead back for good with a pair of Harris free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining.

Bonner added 22 points as one of four Sun starters to score in double figures. Connecticut secured a big edge at the free throw line, where it converted 24 of 30 attempts, doubling up Indiana’s 12-of-13 effort at the stripe. The Sun also held a 17-8 advantage in turnovers to overcome a poor shooting night (21.1%) from 3-point distance.

The Fever shot 47.8% from the line and had five players score in double figures. But it wasn’t enough to overcome their turnovers and the disparity at the free-throw line. Boston tallied 10 points and eight rebounds but struggled with ball control alongside Clark while committing a game-high six turnovers. Clark will have her next chance to secure her first WNBA victory when the Fever visit the Seattle Storm on Wednesday.