Indiana's Caitlin Clark, Aliyah Boston shine to earn win over Chicago Sky: Key takeaways

Sunday’s matchup between the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky was billed as yet another highly-anticipated contest between three of the top rookies in the league.

Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese nor Kamilla Cardoso disappointed. For the second time this season, the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky found themselves in a one-possession game with less than a minute to play in regulation.

Clark scored a game-high 23 points in Indiana’s 91-83 victory, shooting a career-high 63.6 percent in the win. She also had a game-high 9 assists, including the dart to NaLyssa Smith under the basket that put the Fever up five with 30.4 seconds to play. Clark was one of four Indiana players to score at least 15 points, with Aliyah Boston recording a third consecutive double-double as she finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Reese and Cardoso finished with double-doubles, but they also dealt with foul trouble, ending up with five apiece. Midway through the third quarter, Reese was also whistled for a flagrant one after attempting to block Clark’s lay-up attempt. Chicago trailed for much of the second half, as guard Marina Mabrey led all Sky players with 22 points.

The Fever, who have won three of their last five games, move to 5-10, and Chicago drops to 4-9. It’s early in the season, but Indiana’s two wins over the Sky could prove critical as the teams fight for a playoff berth later in the season. The Fever rank eighth in the WNBA standings, one spot ahead of Chicago, with the top eight teams advancing to the postseason.

Here are three takeaways from Indiana’s win:

Clark-Boston star for Fever

Fever fans hope to see more outings like Sunday’s in the future. Days after tying her career-high 27 points in a seven-point win over the Atlanta Dream, Boston was effective yet again, making a team-high nine field goals. In addition to 19 points and 14 rebounds, she finished with a career-high 5 blocks as Indiana set a season-high with 11. Indiana outscored Chicago 14-4 in fourth-quarter paint points, including 6 from Boston.

It wasn’t just one Fever top pick who stepped up, however. Clark finished with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting (her most efficient shooting performance as a pro) while tallying 9 assists and 8 rebounds. Clark had 2 turnovers in the third quarter and had 5 on the night, but she looked in control of her floor game throughout the victory, playing a more complete game against Chicago this time around than when the teams met on June 1. Ben Pickman, WNBA Staff writer

Reese-Cardoso frontcourt continues to make significant impact on glass

The Sky changed their lineup Sunday, moving guards Lindsay Allen and Chennedy Carter into the starting lineup. But so much about how Chicago is playing revolves around its starting frontcourt of Cardoso and Reese. Both made impacts throughout the contest. Reese and Cardoso combined for 10 of Chicago’s 11 first-half offensive rebounds. The Sky, who average 11.6 second-chance points, finished the loss with 14. Cardoso’s 10point, 10-rebound outing was her first career double-double. Reese, meanwhile, recorded her sixth consecutive double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

The rookies are still finding their roles on offense — Carter, Mabrey and Dana Evans still create the most opportunities on offense — and Reese made only one shot in the second half, but Reese and Cardoso continue to look like important franchise building blocks.   Pickman

Carter shines as a first-time starter

Carter is one of the early favorites for WNBA Sixth Player of the Year, an opinion shared by none other than Clark after the first Chicago-Indiana game. But Sunday’s performance could put a damper on that award campaign, as Carter made her first start of the season and made a convincing case to be in the first five going forward.

Carter got the Sky going with 8 points and 2 assists in the first quarter, game-highs in both categories. She finished with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting, adding 4 assists, as Chicago ended the game even in her 28 minutes. Every other Sky starter had a negative plus-minus. Carter puts more pressure on the rim than other Chicago guards and is always looking for her bigs, a helpful asset with a young frontcourt of Reese and Cardoso. Since Cardoso’s debut, it’s been clear that Carter’s paint attacks pair well with the 6-foot-7 center. Entering Sunday’s contest, Carter and Cardoso had the highest offensive rating of any duo involving Cardoso, and tying their minutes together is a smart choice going forward. Sabreena Merchant, WNBA staff writer

(Photo: Emilee Chinn / Getty Images)

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