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Caitlin Clark hits important late three-pointer to lift Indiana Fever to first victory of the season over LA Sparks

By Ben Morse and Homero De la Fuente, CNN

(CNN) — Caitlin Clark hit what was a victory-sealing three-pointer to help lift the Indiana Fever to their first win of the season on Friday night against the LA Sparks.

Clark connected with the deep shot from near the half-court logo to give her Indiana team a 78-71 lead with 40.5 seconds remaining. The Fever would go onto win 78-73.

The 2024 No. 1 overall draft pick struggled to score all night, with the dagger three just her second of the game having missed her first seven attempts from deep. She finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists against the Sparks.

“To be honest, I went to the bench after I was like: ‘I was due, they had to go in,’” Clark said of her two fourth-quarter threes, per ESPN. “I had missed so many throughout the game. It was time for them to go in.”

While Clark struggled to score, her teammates picked up the slack at Arena.

Kelsey Mitchell top-scored with 18 points, while Aliyah Boston – last season’s Rookie of the Year – and Temi Fagbenle both added 17 points apiece.

Playing in front of a record crowd of 19,103 fans – the game was moved to Arena from the Sparks usual home in Long Beach due to the high demand – the Fever opened the third quarter on a 16-3 run, to turn a 45-34 deficit into a 50-48 lead.

And with the game in the balance as time ticked away, Clark found her range.

The first of her late three pointers came with 2:27 left in the game to extend the Fever’s lead to 72-66. The Sparks responded with a 6-0 run, including a three from 2024’s No. 2 overall draft pick Cameron Brink, to get back within two points, before Clark made her second three pointer of the night to put the Fever ahead for good.

It clinched Indiana’s first victory of the season having lost its opening five games.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” added Clark. “This is my job, this is what I love to do, but I never want to lose the fun of the game, and nights like tonight remind me why I love playing basketball.”

Dearica Hamby top-scored for the Sparks with 18 points, with rookies Brink and Rickea Jackson adding 15 and 16 points respectively.

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