WNBA Power Rankings: Caitlin Clark, Fever ride hot stretch to No. 6; Liberty maintain top spot

The Indiana Fever and No. 1 overall pick Caitlin Clark were done no favors by the league’s schedule-makers and TV partners early in the season. They played 11 games in the first 20 days, with six coming on the road and eight against the New York Liberty, Connecticut Sun, Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm. They went 2-9 and were routinely crushed in the process.

Since things have settled down, it’s been a much different story. Over the final three weeks of June, they went 6-3, including a major comeback win on the road over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. During that stretch, only the Liberty and Minnesota Lynx had a better record, and their 107.5 offensive rating ranked second only to the Liberty.

Clark, who was one rebound away from becoming the first rookie ever with a triple-double in the win over the Mercury, is the driving force behind this recent success. She’s averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.6 assists over this nine-game stretch, and shot 40.8% from behind the arc. In just 20 games, she has already set the team’s rookie assist record.

But the reason the Fever are winning games is that the rest of their young core has shined as well. Aliyah Boston had a career-high 27 points and 13 rebounds in their win over the Dream on June 13, while Kelsey Mitchell is shooting 50% on 3-pointers and NaLyssa Smith is nearly averaging a double-double during this run.

This is still a very young team prone to mistakes and bad games, but the last few weeks have been a reminder that despite the brutal start to the season, the future is extremely bright in Indianapolis.