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UConn’s Geno Auriemma Believes Caitlin Clark Is Being ‘Targeted’ in WNBA

Written by on June 7, 2024

Indiana Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark has been the biggest storyline of the 2024 WNBA season—from her debut last month against the Connecticut Sun to her 30-point gem against the Los Angeles Sparks to her occasional on-court struggles.

Geno Auriemma, who coached many current WNBA stars at UConn—from Diana Taurasi to Napheesa Collier to Breanna Stewart—weighed in on the on-court physicality that Clark has dealt with over her first 11 games.

“Is she facing the rookie challenge, the rookie hardships that are inherent with being a rookie? Yes,” Auriemma told reporters in Connecticut on Tuesday. “She’s also being targeted.”

During the third quarter of the Fever’s 71–70 win over the Chicago Sky on Saturday, Chennedy Carter slammed into Clark away from the basketball during an inbounding play. Clark said the foul was “not a basketball play,” and Carter’s coach Teresa Weatherspoon later said it was “not appropriate.”

“I don’t remember when [Michael] Jordan came into the [NBA]guys looking to go out and beat him up,” Auriemma said. “I don’t remember when [Larry] Bird and Magic [Johnson] came in the league and elevated the NBA, them getting targeted and getting beat up just because of who they were and the attention they were getting.

“Appreciate the fact that now’s the time [for the WNBA]. I get it. It’s long overdue. Why are you blaming that kid? It’s not her fault, because you would trade places with her in a minute, but you are not there. You’re not her. So, you’re [complaining] that she’s getting what she’s getting.”

After playing 11 games in less than three weeks, Clark and the Fever are resting until Friday night’s matchup against the Washington Mystics.

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