Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle attends home debut of Caitlin Clark for Indiana Fever vs New York Liberty

Clark played her first WNBA home game on Thursday night
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) rushes up the court past New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20).
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) rushes up the court past New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20). / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Fever star rookie Caitlin Clark made her WNBA debut in Indianapolis on Thursday night. It was her first game in front of Fever fans in her new home, and many Indianapolis figures were in attendance to see it all.

One such person was Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle. He arrived about 10 minutes before tipoff to see the 2024 No. 1 overall pick during her first regular season game in Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Next to Carlisle was Pacers assistant coach Jim Boylen.

"Big fan. Love the 40-foot stepbacks. Can't get enough," Carlisle said of Clark back in February. He was in awe that she was approaching Pete Maravich's NCAA scoring total around the time. One week later, the former Iowa Hawkeye announced that she would enter the WNBA Draft.

She was selected with the top pick by the Fever on April 15 and was introduced to locals in Indianapolis just a few days later. "For the city of Indianapolis, you've got Tyrese [Haliburton]... you've got Caitlin Clark... It's exciting times," the head coach said at the time.

Sitting near Carlisle was former Indianapolis Colts punter and current sports talk host Pat McAfee. He was wearing Fever gear and was excited to watch the star rookie play in front of Indiana fans for the first time. Pacers and Fever owner Herb Simon was on hand as well.

The Fever were battling the New York Liberty, and they were crushed by the 2023 WNBA runner ups. The final score was 102-66, and Clark had an off night. She finished with nine points, seven rebounds, six assists, one block, five fouls, and three turnovers. She was better taking care of the ball than she was in her debut on Tuesday, but her shot hasn't dropped yet.

Indiana next plays on Saturday when they battle the Liberty again, this time on the road. Carlisle, meanwhile, will coach his Pacers tomorrow in Game 6 against the New York Knicks.

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Tony East


Tony East is the Publisher of AllPacers. He has previously written for Forbes Sports, the West Indianapolis Community News, WTHR, and more while hosting the Locked On Pacers podcast.