Caitlin Clark finds it tough to get into the flow in her first WNBA season – John Cardullo

Caitlin Clark finds it tough to get into the flow in her first season in the WNBA.

Caitlin Clark’s basketball career has been pretty much on track since she picked up a basketball at a very early age. Success on the court came easy for Clark, personally, and for her teams, as well. Winning championships from her early youth teams to her AAU travel teams, to her high school team, Clark was the major factor in all her teams’ conquests on the hardwood. Her early career was a stockpile of championships, All Tournament team and MVP selections.

The Clark express didn’t slow down when she went to Iowa, ALL Clark did was lead her team to back to back appearances in the NCAA Women’s National Championship game. She was also named twice to the Women’s college basketball All American team. Broke not only the Women’s scoring title, but the men’s title as well becoming the NCAA All time scoring champion and the all-time leader of 3-point field goals in history. On Iowa she was not only the leader in scoring, but with assists, and at the top in blocks, causing opponents to commit turn overs, steals and the team leader in 3-point field goals made, 2-point field goals made, and her free throw percentage always lead her team.

It was no wonder that when the WNBA held its pre-season draft the first selection by the Indiana Fever was Catlin Clark. Unlike it’s male counterpart, the NBA where top draft picks are signed to multi-million dollar contracts to play basketball, and even though the owner of the Indiana Pacers NBA teams also owns the Fever, the pay scale for women is like night and day. Clark signed a contract that began at $74,000 that will escalate each year after. Not to worry, the multi-million dollar endorsements came and kept coming. Nike and Wilson lead the pack making her receiving Micheal Jordan endorsement money. Her Fever jersey sales soared and tickets to the Fever games became sellouts both at home and on the road. For example, tickets to a Connecticut Suns normally cost between $7 to $12. Tickets were being purchased for $200 for the Indiana Fever game. This was the trend throughout all the WNBA cities, as Clark was the golden goose both in the public relations of the game as well as interest and ticket sales for the WNBA.

There was only one bump in the road for Clark, the women who are playing in the WNBA weren’t going to let this rookie upstart come in to have her way. Defenses locked Clark down, her game that came so easy for Clark became much harder, clear looks at the baskets were very limited, picks and screens on her were set with a much harder impact. The message was that a rookie has to pay her dues, the hazing was beginning, and for Clark, the game that came so easy for her had become much more difficult. Her education into professional basketball was going to be taught to her by her peers. The first lesson was that everything she was going to achieve was going to have to be earned, there were going to be no free rides given to her.

Now if this was a fairy tale, Clark would easily rise above all these obstacles and get to the top of the mountain, but this is reality, and as popular as she is, her team sits in last place currently, with a 0-5 won/loss record. She is averaging 17.5 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 5.8 assists per game, 1 block per game, .5 steals per game with a 40.3 field goal percentage per game and a 32.6 3-point percentage per game. All while committing 5.8 turn overs per game.

Overall, the numbers are not bad, for any other player, but for what the country has come to expect from Clark, they are marginal.  It would be easy to say that to go from the whirlwind senior season that she experienced right into the WNBA without a break between seasons may have something to do with her slow start. Remember that one week she was playing for a National College Championship, the next week she was negotiating multi-million-dollar endorsement deals, and then being selected as the number one pick in the 2024 WNBA draft would be many moving parts for anyone to handle, not to mention that a WNBA training camp and preseason schedule that would run right into a full season. For Clark it has been the culmination of her dreams that she’s had since she picked up a basketball. But everybody needs to take a step back and a deep breath once and a while and Catlin Clark is no different.

The expectation is that she will find her stride and get back to being the dominating sharpshooter that we have all seen over the last few seasons. She is a pure talent; she is too good at what she does both on and off the court for her not to make the adjustments that will propel her back to the dominating basketball player that she was at Iowa, at the AAU level, in High school and in the youth leagues. There is no doubt that Caitlin Clark will become one of the WNBA’s true superstars, all that she might have to do is take a long deep breath.

UPDATE: Clark and the Indiana Fever won their first game of season over LA Sparks, 78-73, Friday night.


John Cardullo, sportswriter. John is a lifelong Rhode Islander. His sports experience is extensive, as a player, coach and sponsor of youth and high school sports. He has been the Public Address Announcer for the CCRI Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams. Both the Cranston East and Cranston West football, Cranston East Boys and Girls basketball for 12 years before moving onto the Central, Juanita Sanchez and Mt. Pleasant football teams. Also, Central HS Boys and Girls Basketball, Scituate High School Boys and Girls Basketball, Johnston High School Girls Basketball, Boys Volleyball, Girls Softball, Boys and Girls Soccer teams, and CLCF football.

John has been involved in Men’s softball for 61 years, starting as a batboy for his father’s team in 1964. He moved to the teams scorekeeper then became a player in 1975, and created the men’s team, Players Corner Pub, that went on to win 20 State Championships in their 35 year history. In the 1990’s he published the statewide softball magazine “The Fielders Choice” which was dedicated to all topics related to adult softball. As a feature writer, John and the publication won several media awards. In 2019 he was elected and inducted into the Rhode Island Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame which he also helped create. John is a softball umpire in Warwick, Rhode Island.

In his spare time John golfs with his life long friends on a weekly basis in season. After retiring from the printing Industry after a 45-year career, he now writes specialty sports columns for

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