Caitlin Clark benched: Dave Portnoy slams ‘idiotic refs’ as WNBA star gets two questionable fouls in first five minutes of Indiana Fever debut.

Dave Portnoy was left furious just minutes into Caitlin Clark’s Indiana Fever debut – with the WNBA’s new star benched after two questionable fouls in the first five minutes.

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Clark was twice judged to have fouled Alyssa Thomas in the opening exchanges, prompting coach Christie Sides to take her off the court to lower the risk of her getting to a tally of six and fouling out.

Clark, who ended up scoring 20 points on a night that ended with a debut loss against Connecticut Sun, could be heard shouting back ‘that’s not a foul’ after the second call.

Portnoy, and many fans watching at home, felt Sides had no choice after what they felt were terrible refereeing calls at a sold out Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Barstool Sports founder took to X to vent, saying: ‘Dear WNBA, nobody is watching if Caitlin Clark is on the bench so maybe tell your idiotic refs not to call two ticky tac fouls on her 5 seconds into the game. How dumb are you people?’

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever reacting during her WNBA debut game against the Connecticut Sun

Caitlin Clark was benched early into her Indiana Fever debut for two questionable fouls

Dear @WNBA nobody is watching if Caitlin Clark is on the bench so maybe tell your idiotic refs not to call two ticky tac fouls on her 5 seconds into the game. How dumb are you people?”

It was a difficult start for Clark as the Fever took on the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena

Many fans followed suit in blaming the referees. One said: ‘These referees in Fever-Sun game need to understand how huge debut of Caitlin Clark is & be fired after the game.

Connecticut Sun guard Rachel Banham blocking a shot from Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark during a WNBA game

Sellout crowd, biggest TV audience in WNBA history & they hit her with 2 bulls***, phantom fouls in first 5M. You could actually hear TVs switching channels.

Another said: ‘I’m sure the WNBA is thrilled about their referees calling two questionable fouls on Caitlin Clark sending her to the bench not even half way through the first quarter of opening night.

Probably lost 70% of their audience before the first commercial break.’

A different fan wrote: ‘Great first quarter for WNBA … more people watching opening night than maybe ever before, and refs call two ticky-tack fouls on Caitlin Clark in first five minutes and she spends next five on the bench.

No matter the sport, refs can’t help themselves apparently.’

But while the fans were let down by the referees, Sides accepted that it was an overall problem for her team.

We’re fouling way too much,’ she told ESPN between the first and second quarter. The Connecticut Sun led 19-13 after the first quarter.”

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) scoring her first WNBA career basket against Connecticut Sun during a basketball game

After starting the game 0-4, Clark got her first basket in the middle of the second quarter and she appeared to grow into the game as it went on.

But it ended up being a loss for Clark on her first WNBA game. The Sun won 92-71 in the end, even with Clark scoring 20 points.

Her next game comes on Thursday against New York Liberty.