“The biggest challenge for myself coming from college to the professional level is, first of all, the physicality,” Clark offered. “Second of all, being competitive but also understanding that this is a young team. I’m young. It’s going to be a learning process. Not everything is going to be perfect. I was talking to my dad on the phone. He said, ‘Go out there, have fun, compete, play hard, and every day you’re going to learn something new. Take that and continue to build on it. Things will really start clicking when they should.’” Christie Sides, in her second year as Indiana’s head coach, doesn’t seem the slightest bit worried about the sports car that ended up in her garage. “She’s a student of the game,” Sides said of Clark. “She wants to get better. She wants to learn. Caitlin is going to be fine. She’s going to be fine. She’s a great player. But it’s a process.”

The Liberty, meanwhile, are a perfect demonstration of a team that’s clicking. Playing in New York obviously affords them a certain level of clout. It’s hard to imagine Bird, Rapinoe, and Sudeikis taking in a Sun game in Uncasville, Connecticut, for instance. But, along with celebs wanting to get a glimpse of the Clark show, they also understand that the Liberty are really freaking good. So good, in fact, that the energy at their home games very quickly turns party-adjacent, as the score is rarely close enough to create any real tension.

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On to Connecticut, where the Fever will face the Sun on Monday.

Saturday was the home opener for this juggernaut, which also meant the first performance of the year for Ellie the Elephant, their mascot-slash-diva. Her halftime performance was billed as Missy Ellie-ott, and it did not disappoint. She danced to “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” and “Get Ur Freak On” while sporting her take on the Virginia rapper’s iconic inflatable trash bag fit, keeping lots of people in their seats rather than running for the beer line. Shooting guard Sabrina Ionescu was also debuting her new signature shoes, the Nike Sabrina 2s, and the team’s starting lineup intros were set to Future and Metro Boomin’s bombastic hit “Like That.” They’re a team that’s really leaning into the fact that they, to quote the song, are kicking in people’s doors. Lest you think that women’s basketball got all of its razzmatazz from Clark, the Liberty have been at the forefront of the movement since assembling this roster.

“I thought the atmosphere was incredible,” Clark said after the game. “There were definitely a lot of young girls here today, which is fun to see. The Liberty definitely deserve this crowd. They’re going to be incredible this year. I’m happy for New York to have this type of environment.” The new Indiana resident, who revealed that she’s about to move out of a hotel and into her own apartment, knows where her bread is buttered, though. “Shout out the Pacers. Hopefully they beat the Knicks. Sorry if any of you are Knicks fans.”

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