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WNBA Rookie Caitlin Clark Faces Unprecedented Challenges




Caitlin Clark’s debut season in the WNBA has been anything but smooth, as highlighted by her former college coach, Geno Auriemma. The UConn women’s basketball coach asserts that Clark is not only dealing with the typical difficulties of a rookie but is also being unfairly targeted by other players. Auriemma’s remarks came after Chicago’s Chennedy Carter delivered a harsh body check to Clark during a game on June 2, drawing attention to the rough treatment the rookie has been receiving.

In addition to the physical play, Clark’s college rival, Angel Reese, who now plays for Chicago, has been openly critical of Clark. Reese has not only taken jabs at her on social media but also applauded Carter’s aggressive play against Clark, calling herself the ‘bad guy’ and seemingly relishing the role.

Auriemma compared Clark’s situation to that of other high-profile athletes who transitioned to the professional leagues, noting that they did not face the same level of aggression. He referenced legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson, who, despite their immediate impact and attention, did not experience such targeted physicality. Auriemma expressed frustration over the resentment directed at Clark, suggesting that her peers are envious of her success and the attention she garners.

Despite these challenges, Clark has managed to handle her rough introduction to the WNBA with resilience. Auriemma praised her for her ability to face these obstacles head-on, maintaining that her elite skills will ultimately shine through. However, he also mentioned that Clark’s current team, the Indiana Fever, which is struggling with a 2-9 record, is not making the transition any easier for her.

Contrasting Auriemma’s views, Breanna Stewart, the Liberty star and reigning WNBA MVP, argued that physicality is an inherent part of the game that all players must adapt to. Stewart, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016 and enjoyed a stellar college career under Auriemma, emphasized that the WNBA is the best league in the world, and players need to learn to navigate its intensity. She acknowledged the competitive nature of the league and urged continued support and attention to elevate the sport as a whole.

Overall, Caitlin Clark’s rookie season has underscored the intense challenges faced by newcomers to the WNBA. While some view the physicality as part of the sport, others, like Auriemma, believe that Clark is being singled out unfairly. Despite the adversities, Clark’s determination and skill suggest she will persevere and eventually thrive in the league.

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