Following the Indiana Fever’s 91-79 win over the Atlanta Dream Friday night, they’ve now won four straight games for the first time since the 2015 season. It’s also the first time they have strung together six wins in an eight-game span since that season, where they made the WNBA Finals. 

Next up for the Fever is continuing their five-game road trip by going to play the Chicago Sky Sunday afternoon at Wintrust Arena on the campus of DePaul University. Caitlin Clark was asked Friday night if rivalry games add an extra gear and heightened sense of determination. 

Instead, Clark more so downplayed the supposed rivalry with the Sky and even Angel Reese

“I'm pretty sure the only people that view this as a rivalry is all of you (media),” Clark said after the win. “For us it's just a game of basketball. That's what it is. And if it's going to help move the game forward, absolutely. That's amazing. That's what it should be. people could talk about it.”

The Fever and Sky have already met twice this season, both in Indiana. The Fever won each game in single digits. Both times, Clark was flagrant fouled by Chennedy Carter and the 2024 No. 7 pick in Reese during the third quarter, respectively. For the Carter flagrant which occurred June 1, Clark said the play wasn’t basketball-like. For the Reese flagrant, Clark shrugged it off. 

After that game, Clark said Reese was going for the block and her getting knocked in the head was getting caught in the crossfire of that. In spite of Carter’s hip-check on an inbounds during the June 1 game, she later caught Clark and held her upright in the June 16 rematch. That was after Clark jumped right toward Carter and Sky guard Dana Evans while going up to try to shoot. 

What about playing at the United Center instead of Wintrust Arena?

Fever star Caitlin Clark against the Chicago Sky

Clark diverted her response away from the rivalry aspect and next focused on how Sunday’s third rendition of the matchup could’ve been better suited to take place in the United Center. It’s home to the Chicago Bulls and has the highest capacity of any current NBA arena. Wintrust Arena’s capacity is around 10,000, half of the United, and where the Fever will play Sunday. 

“I saw the ticket prices,” Clark said about Sunday. “I guess the only thing is I’m surprised we’re not playing at the United Center. I thought that would have been really good for the game and really good for all the women’s basketball fans in Chicago. Maybe there’s a conflict of some sort that I don’t know about. Obviously that’s a little above my paygrade. But we’re excited, you know, one game at a time.” 

The Atlanta Dream, whom the Fever beat Friday night for four straight wins, moved the game to State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks. That was announced back in mid-May and the Friday night game was sold out. The Dream listed the attendance at 17,575 — the largest home crowd in Dream franchise history and the fifth-largest crowd this season in the WNBA. Atlanta’s previous attendance record was its inaugural home game in 2008, which drew 11,609 people. 

There will be an artist performing at the United Center Sunday evening, though. 

What’s it like for Caitlin Clark in these road environments? 

Clark is drawing thousands wherever she goes. The attendance during the Washington Mystics game this month was listed at over 20,000 and there were crowds pregame and postgame to try to get Clark autographs. That happened in Atlanta, per Chloe Peterson of the Indianapolis Star. 

“Absolutely,” Clark said, when asked whether big road crowds cheering for the Fever help. “A lot of these crowds that we’re going into, they’re not as many cheering against us. That certainly helps… a lot of that was the same in college, other than the IU fans. They were pretty crazy. So I mean, it definitely adds an added emotion… I think that’s just energy that you can feed off of.” 

Clark shouted out Indiana women’s basketball fans as mentioned above. Iowa played at Indiana in February of this year and lost 86-69. Clark’s Hawkeyes lost only five times in her senior year. The contest was sold out with more than 17,000 fans. For the Fever moving forward with four more games in this road trip, it would be really helpful to pick up more confidence-boosting wins. 

They’ve sling-shotted up into the playoff picture, neck-and-neck with the Sky for the final spot. 

Time will tell how fierce or dull Sunday’s “rivalry” turns out to be.