The WNBA is more than a quarter through what is arguably the most important season in the league's 28-year existence, reaping the benefits of the arrival of Caitlin Clark and a high-profile rookie class. More fans than ever are flocking to Indiana Fever games to watch the most prominent figure in women's basketball compete.

There have been struggles galore (35.7 field goal percentage, 5.4 turnovers per game), which is to be expected on a team that has just two double-digit win campaigns in the last seven years, but Clark is consistently the focal point of the sport. She transcends the court, as there are occasions when her stat line is not even the main takeaway from a contest.

Last Saturday's hard-earned 71-70 home victory versus the Chicago Sky is a prime example of the viral effects the combination of controversy and Caitlin Clark can have on the social media world. Things got a bit chippy between the two-time AP College Player of the Year and Sky guard Chennedy Carter during the game, culminating with Carter shoving Clark.

Outrage ensued, with media outlets gobbling up the incident and using it to pose a larger question– Are other WNBA players out to get the former Iowa superstar? There have been endless debates about the topic, and Carter, along with Sky teammate and Clark rival Angel Reese, have done their part to stoke the flames.

But what feelings does the No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft have on the matter?

Caitlin Clark wants the focus to be on the action

“I'm not on social media, so I don't see a lot of it…but you're still aware of it and you still see it,” Clark told USA TODAY columnist Christine Brennan on Friday, several hours before the 2-9 Fever take the court against the 0-10 Washington Mystics in The Entertainment and Sports Arena.

“But other than that, my focus is basketball. Sometimes it stinks how much the conversation is outside of basketball and not the product on the floor and the amazing players that are on the floor…and how great this season has been for women's basketball, going from college basketball to now the WNBA. Some of the crowds are unprecedented and have never been seen before. Viewership is amazing.”

The 22-year-old knows her role well. Clark may be well outside the MVP and playoff pictures right now, but WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and league owners are counting on her to launch them all into another stratosphere. The initial evidence appears to suggest that such a historically challenging undertaking is actually feasible in this new era.

Clark wants the WNBA to stay on an upward trajectory and is subsequently shining the spotlight on the game's best and brightest with her diplomatic answers. Current stars like two-time champions A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, and incoming ones like Clark, Reese, Cameron Brink and Kamilla Cardoso, are all key components of the women's basketball business model going forward.

Chatter will continue to follow Caitlin Clark and the Fever, however.

Clark's social media blackout could keep her in right mindset

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives toward the basket against the Chicago Sky during a game at Grainbridge Fieldhouse.

The backlash brought on by the Chennedy Carter exchange and Angel Reese's decision to skip the postgame press conference– which resulted in a flagrant foul for the former and a $1,000 fine for the latter– will eventually settle down. Though, the narrative of Clark versus the world is bound to resume before season's end.

Excessive media coverage and speculation is obviously routine for the 22-year-old at this point. She is letting the pundits say what they like while going about her business with Indiana.

“I don't really think it's that different from when I was in college,” Clark told Brennan. “Everybody's going to have their opinion, everybody's entitled to their own opinion. That's just what it is, and I think you just got to be focused on what's in your locker room and what's in your organization…For me that's my focus, but I also have a job to do at the same time.”

Clark, who ranks top-20 in scoring (15.6 points per game) and fourth in assists (6.4), is dedicating her energy into quickly pushing past her WNBA growing pains and helping the Fever grab some more wins. They are back at it on Friday night with tip-off starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.