History! Clark leads Fever’s upset of Liberty with triple-double

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) became the first rookie in WNBA history to record a triple-double in Saturday's win over the New York Liberty in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Caitlin Clark put up a historic stat line as the Indiana Fever earn a big win against the New York Liberty on Saturday. The Fever overcame a large second-half deficit to take a 83-78 victory in front of an electric crowd at home.

After the Fever started the game with a dominant run, the Liberty bounced back, outscoring Indiana in the second and third quarters. New York led by as many as 11 points early in the fourth quarter. However, the Fever pushed back, outscoring the Liberty 28-16 in the final frame to take the comeback win.

Indiana’s comeback win was fueled in part by Clark’s historic performance: The rookie guard put up 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, becoming the first rookie in WNBA history to record a triple-double. Clark’s stat line also makes her the first Indiana Fever player to record a triple-double. Her total rebounds and assists also ties her career high.

Clark hit the milestone in the fourth quarter, pulling down her 10th rebound.

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu led both teams with 22 points, while teammate Betnijah Laney-Hamilton tied her career high with 20 points. On the Fever side, however, four of the starters put up double digits, with Aliyah Boston scoring 18, Kelsey Mitchell scoring 14 and NaLyssa Smith chipping in 12 behind Clark’s 19.

Clark is just the latest WNBA player to put up the prestigious state line. Because WNBA games (40 minutes) are shorter than NBA games (48 minutes), triple-doubles have been rarer in the WNBA. However, the triple-double has exploded in the league in recent years, with nine in the summer of 2022 alone.

Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas leads the WNBA in career triple-doubles by a dominant margin, and recorded her 10th with a 13-point, 14-assist, 10 rebound game in the Sun’s win over the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday.

With the win, the Fever move to 9-13, sitting at eighth in the league, while the 17-4 Liberty stay in the No. 1 spot. New York has a tough challenge ahead, traveling to play the second-ranked Sun on Wednesday, while Indiana plays the 11th-ranked Washington Mystics.