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Caitlin Clark, Fever set for highly-anticipated battle against Diana Taurasi, Mercury

(Left) © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports | (Right) © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath following the 2024 WNBA Draft, the date is set for when No. 1 overall pick Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever head to the Valley to face Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury.

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On June 30, the Mercury will host the Fever inside Footprint Center at noon.

Hyping up the Phoenix faithful for this huge clash, the Mercury posed a question, presumably directed toward Clark.

“Are you really officially in the W until you play in front of the X-Factor?”

Regarded as the best women’s college basketball player over the past few seasons, Clark was with Iowa for four years (2020-24) and played 139 games. She averaged 28.4 points, 8.2 assists and 7.1 rebounds with the Hawkeyes.

Last season, the Iowa native started all 39 games she appeared in, eclipsing career-highs in points (31.6) and assists (8.9) per game. She would be the 2024 AP Player of the Year, win the John R. Wooden Award, Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award and a vast array of other accolades/honors.

The 22-year-old did have one year of college eligibility left, but ultimately decided to enter the WNBA Draft.

With the first pick on Monday night, the Fever did not hesitate as they selected the national sensation.

But before Clark has even played a second in the league, Taurasi recently began brewing a potential rivalry between the two.

On the ESPN show Sportscenter with Scott Van Pelt, Van Pelt asked Taurasi about how she feels prospects like Clark will transition from college to the WNBA.

“Reality is coming, there’s levels to this thing,” Taurasi said. “That’s just life, we’ve all been through it. You’ve seen it on the NBA side and you are going to see it on this side where you look superhuman playing against 18-year-olds, but you are gonna come in with some girls who have been playing professional basketball for a long time. Not saying it is not going to translate because when you are great at what you do, you are just going to get better. But there is going to be a transition period where you will have to give yourself some graces as a rookie. It might take longer for some people.”

Time will tell how Clark adapts to the WNBA, but seeing one of, if not, the greatest players in the league in Taurasi go up against the young phenom will be a must-see spectacle this summer.

The Phoenix Mercury will start the 2023-24 WNBA season away against the Las Vegas Aces on May 14.

Mercury select UCLA PG Charisma Osborne, Nebraska SG Jaz Shelley in 2024 WNBA Draft

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Reporter Alec Cipollini covers Phoenix Sports News for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account, @AlecCipollini

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