Caitlin Clark's teammates lambasted by ex-NBA player after Chicago Sky's 'cheap shot': ‘You always protect your star’ - Hindustan Times
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Caitlin Clark's teammates lambasted by ex-NBA player after Chicago Sky's 'cheap shot': ‘You always protect your star’

Jun 02, 2024 07:47 PM IST

Former NBA player Matt Barnes has a clear message for Indiana Fever amid the WNBA's brutal tactics against Caitlin Clark: "Got to do better, ladies.”

It hasn't been a walk through the park for the 22-year-old rookie star Caitlin Clark since she stepped out on the WNBA stage earlier this year. Somehow, still tackling all the offensive marks against her, #22 is possibly taking more hits than any WNBA player this season.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JUNE 01: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever battles for position against Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky during the second quarter in the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 01, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.(Getty Images via AFP)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JUNE 01: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever battles for position against Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky during the second quarter in the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 01, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.(Getty Images via AFP)

While she hasn't been quiet through it all, her team, Indiana Fever, despite swooping her as the overall No. 1 pick at the 2024 draft, has seemingly maintained a reticent quiet through the court to the extent that others have had to jump in her defence.

On the first day of Pride Month, college rivals Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese crossed paths on the professional WNBA level as their sporting feud kicked up a notch higher during the Indiana Fever vs Chicago Sky game. But, even before that happened, Fever's standout rookie took massive hits from the other side. Sky's Chennedy Carter particularly struck her with a brutal foul as Clark hit the floor hard. Making matters worse, Carter's in-game offensive followed a verbal attack, calling Clark a “b**ch."

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Caitlin Clark vs Angel Reese intensifies

Another angle at the game moment, roughly panning out to show Chicago Sky's bench view, caught a well-seated Angel Reese hopping off the bench, earnestly applauding Carter's move.

Later, with Reese on the court this time, the footage showed Clark being hit by her “cheap shot,” followed by the Sky player staring her down after the strike. Many of the shots directed at Clark have led basketball fans to question if the Fever guard needs to toughen up more or if a different game is unfolding against her altogether.

This brutal WNBA tactic against her transpired just days after Fever's May 30 Seattle Storm match. Addressing the physical knock-out moments, Clark said in a postgame press conference, “I feel like I'm getting hammered, I don't know," a sentiment she had raised even after Fever's crushing loss to Los Angeles Sparks.

Nevertheless, the winds of time stood by Clark's side on Saturday as Indiana Fever took home a narrow 71-70 victory. Despite being crushed under pressure, Clark delivered 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists against Sky.

Officials supporting Caitlin Clark

With the on-court action wrapped up, a livid Fever coach, Christie Sides, took aim at Carter's foul on Clark. Later that night, the head coach took to her X/Twitter feed and called the Chicago Sky player's actions “unacceptable.” She further fumed, “When will the consistent complaints be heard?!? Something has to be done!”

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She posted her tweet in response to sports broadcaster Pat Boylan's remarks, who also called out Carter's play. “I rarely come here to talk officiating, but this is the type of thing Clark has faced a lot in the early going, albeit not this blatant. There’s nothing “basketball play” about this and meets numerous flagrancy criteria,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, former NBA player Matt Barnes also spotlighted the issue. However, he took a different approach to addressing the dirty court politics. Commenting under a Bleacher Report Instagram post about the Clark vs Carter heat, Barnes wrote, “All this is gonna happen this season. She’s gonna be mentally & physically tested. Cheap shots, elbows, hard screens. My question is…..? When will someone from her team have her back?? You gotta protect your stars!! She’s been beat up thus far & NO ONE from the @indianafever has done sh!t to have her back. That’s the f$cked up part.”

In a separate video post on his Instagram feed, Barnes hit back at the Indiana Fever squad: “Caitlin Clark says she got cheap-shotted against the Sky. I mean, throughout the season, she's been getting beat up. Hard screens, elbows, knocked down. It is what it is. She's not the first; she won't be the last.

My issue and my question is, where the f**k are her teammates? Where are y'all at? Where are the rest of the Indiana Fever? I've seen a couple of girls smirk when she got knocked down, half-a**ed to pick her up. Like, y'all supposed to protect the asset, protect the star, and although this is a team, she's the star. You always protect your star. I was someone who protected stars. You f**k Kobe, CP, Blake, list goes on… it's going to be a problem because you guys are supposed to be a family.

And you wonder why you sit at the bottom of the league right now because y'all don't protect each other… Coach don't do sh*t about it, players don't do sh*t about… Y'all should be ashamed… The rest of the league is going to continue to test her. That's what they're supposed to do. It's your guys' f**ing job to have her back, have each others' back. Got to do better, ladies."

Michael Voepel of ESPN also spoke out about Clark's situation ahead of the Saturday match on X/Twitter. “The @WNBA defenses are doing what makes sense vs. rookie PG with so much responsibility for offense: They're blitzing @CaitlinClark22. She's been blitzed 57 times on ball screens, which is more than any other WNBA *team* let alone any other player. ...” The lengthy thread continues here.

With a 2-8 tally of wins-losses, Indiana Fever is currently in at 11th in the WNBA. They'll be playing the New York Liberty on Sunday, June 2. The Barclay Center, Brooklyn, game will tip off at 7 pm ET. Regardless of Fever's result, Clark continues to walk down the game's historic path. Her team's next opponent firmly holds on to the 2nd rank with their 6-2 win-loss ratio. 

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