Caitlin Clark’s first trip to Atlanta sets attendance record

Caitlin Clark’s first trip to Atlanta was a good one.

The Indiana Fever rookie, who has more than captured the attention of the basketball world, had 16 points and seven assists in a 91-79 victory over the Atlanta Dream in a sold-out State Farm Arena on Friday. The official attendance for the game was 17,575. It was a few more than would have fit in Gateway Center Arena, the 3,500-seat home of the Dream.

The game was moved to State Farm Arena to accommodate the large crowd.

“These last couple years, I’ve played in front of these types of crowds and these environments so, for me, it’s not that different,” Clark said after the game. “Yeah, I’m putting on a different jersey, but these environments have become, I don’t want to say used to because it’s not something that you become used to, but you are accustomed to playing in. And it’s fun. I’ve never played in Atlanta before. It’s fun going to all these different cities as a rookie and getting to play in front of the crowds. Obviously, a lot of Fever gear out there. I thought the crowd was fun. You could just feel the energy in the building tonight and that’s what makes the basketball fun.”

The crowd roared when Clark ran to the court before the game. It barely stopped through out the game.

Friday’s game was the latest example of the impact that Clark has had on the women’s game. Sunday’s game between the Fever and the Chicago Sky, which features fellow rookie Angel Reese, was the most-watched WNBA game in 23 years with 2.3 million viewers.

“I see a lot of fans that are supporting different teams; college teams, Indiana, Atlanta. ... I see a lot of different people,” fan Gayla White said.

The Dream set an franchise record for single-game attendance, one that has stood since their first-ever game. That inaugural game in 2008 had 11,609 fans fill then-Philips Arena.

The Fever are setting WNBA attendance records home and away. Friday was another example.

“(There are) a lot of places I haven’t played before,” Clark said. “I haven’t even been to the city of Atlanta. I’ve flown through here quite a few times. This is my first time here.”

She will be back. The Dream host the Fever on Aug. 26. That game will also be played at State Farm Arena.