Caitlin Clark’s teammate opens up on WNBA star’s hidden attribute she didn’t expect

Indiana Fever center Temi Fagbenle has highlighted Caitlin Clark’s court vision as a way her rookie team-mate continues to surprise her. The top overall pick leads the league in assists with 44 alongside 2022 assists leader Natasha Cloud.

Clark, 22, has done so in two more games than the Phoenix Mercury guard but still sits fourth in assists per game. She has fractionally more (6.3 to 6.2) than Seattle Storm guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, while Cloud is up at 8.8.

The two players separating them are Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (7.8) and Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young (6.3). Washington Mystics guard Julie Vanloo, who has played overseas for over a decade, is the closest WNBA rookie to Clark with 33 (5.5 per game).

Only two other rookies, Dallas Wings guard Sevgi Uzun, who also has a decade of experience in Europe, and Los Angeles Sparks center Cameron Brink are in double-digits for assists with 29 and 12, respectively. Fagbenle stressed how strong a playmaker Clark is during media availability after Fever practice on Monday.

“She’s a great passer, so she’s always going to pass it if I’m open, I know that,” she said. “I just know it’s coming. I’ve only had a few of those kind of point guards who you just know sees the play before it’s happened.

“So I’m going, I know I’m open, (with) a regular point guard, I’m like: ‘they didn’t see it.’ But Caitlin saw that before I was open, and then I am surprised.”

Caitlin Clark passing the basketball during an Indiana Fever game
Caitlin Clark is being credited for her high-level point guard play 
Getty Images)

“That perhaps plays a part in why Clark also leads the league in turnovers, with 37 total. But she is in good company atop that list as Diggins-Smith and Thomas also have 20+ turnovers.

Learning her team-mates’ tendencies will only improve her 1.19 assist-to-turnover rate, and more practice time will help that process, too. “It’s really amazing because we haven’t had many practices together, but the connection is there,” Fagbenle explained.

“I feel like I’m getting a better sense of what she’s about and what she’s gonna do. So I just try and get into the right positions to try and make something work.” Clark has similarly spoken about building a relationship with the team’s starting center, Aliyah Boston.

“It’s hard, a post and a point guard trying to get that connection, that chemistry within 20 days and five games,” she told reporters after practice Friday. “Everybody’s just expecting so much.

“I think it’s just a learning process and that will only continue to get better. I think the pace we want to play at is a little bit different than last year, so continuing to get comfortable with that.”

As Clark alludes, the Fever has had the most packed schedule to start the season, playing seven games in 11 days. That continues into June, as the team has another four games over the next six days.

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