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New York Liberty home opener against Caitlin Clark and Indiana Fever sets WNBA record. Hear from excited fans.

New York Liberty face Indiana Fever, Caitlin Clark in front of sold-out crowd at Barclays Center
New York Liberty face Indiana Fever, Caitlin Clark in front of sold-out crowd at Barclays Center 01:48

NEW YORK -- The New York Liberty's first home game of the season, against the Indiana Fever and rookie sensation Caitlin Clark, set an all-time WNBA record with more than $2 million in tickets sold.

Breanna Stewart scored 24 points to lead a balanced New York offense as the Liberty beat Clark and the Fever 91-80 on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 17,735 at the Barclays Center.

Clark had the best game of her young professional career. She scored 22 points — her best total in the three games — to go with eight assists and six rebounds. She also had eight turnovers.

"I think the buzz and eyes that Caitlin has brought from Iowa now to the WNBA is going to be a collective win for all," Stewart said. "When I first started in the league, some teams weren't even making revenue. ... It's a long time coming. We're happy to be at this point, but we're not satisfied."

"The Liberty definitely deserve this crowd. They've been incredible over the course of the last few seasons, and they're going to be incredible this year, so it was fun to play here in New York for the first time," Clark said.

Stewart helps New York top Indiana again 91-80 despite strong game from Caitlin Clark

Clark's effort wasn't enough for the Fever to come away with their first victory of the season. 

"I thought I came out and just played harder and I think that's really just my biggest focus going forward," Clark said. "Just come out and compete and play hard. Our whole group did that."

It was the second consecutive meeting between the teams that finished off a home-and-home set. New York (3-0) won by 36 points on Thursday, but the Fever were more competitive in this one thanks to a strong effort by Clark.

"It was better, but we shouldn't be happy," Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell said. "We didn't lose by 40 so I'll take it."

The No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft came into the game averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds for the Fever (0-3).

This was Clark's first time playing in New York as Iowa never played in the city, nor did she when she was in high school or with her AAU team.

"This arena is amazing. It'll be fun for me to go around to all the new WNBA arenas and kind of check off the box," Clark said. "This is certainly one that's definitely up there. I know the crowd will be incredible tonight, so just enjoy it."

Clark drew a bunch of sports celebrities to the game including Billie Jean King, Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe, Michelle Wie West and Dawn Staley. Actor Jason Sudeikis, who went to a few of Clark's games in college, also was in attendance.

The NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer gave them a lot to watch in the first quarter. She looked comfortable scoring 10 points, hitting four of her five shots in the period. Clark, who only had nine points in the matchup between the teams on Thursday, also hit a logo 3-pointer just after a foul was called.

The play went to review and it was deemed the shot came after the foul, so the deep 3 didn't count.

Despite the strong opening effort, Indiana trailed 33-22 after one quarter and was down 57-37 at the half. New York shot 56% in the first half, including hitting 12 of 18 from behind the 3-point line.

It didn't get much better in the second half, as the Liberty kept shooting well and hitting 3s. All five of New York's starters hit at least two 3-pointers in the game while the Liberty made 15. Indiana never got the game within single digits; however, Clark did wow the crowd by hitting two deep 3-pointers that drew oohs and aahs.

Barclays Center packed with both Liberty die-hards and Clark fans

Liberty fans showed up for Saturday's game with high hopes for the season.

"Liberty is going to go all the way to the championship, no problem," said Walter McNally, from New Jersey.

"I used to watch them at the Garden when I was a little kid. Teresa Weatherspoon, when they went to the finals," Long Island resident Charlie Schultz said.

Peter Land, a self-proclaimed super fan, brought his daughters to the game and wore his favorite t-shirt, reading, "I watched women's basketball before it was cool."

"I started following the Liberty in 1977, their first year in the league. I used to have season tickets, so I love taking my daughters," he said.

Even Liberty fans were excited to see Clark play.

"I want to stick to my team, but I have so much respect for her and I think she's such an amazing player," one fan said. "I think she's been so helpful for women's sports to bring more fans."

"She's the first women's basketball player to really catch so many people's attention," another young fan said.

On Monday night, Clark and the Fever return home to host the Connecticut Sun, while the Liberty will host Seattle.

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