In a recent WNBA game that saw the Indiana Fever fall to the New York Liberty 104-68, Fever coach Christie Sides made a contentious decision to play star players Aliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark late in the fourth quarter despite being down by 30 points.

Sides explained her decision, emphasizing the players’ desire to remain competitive. “They wanted to fight,” Sides said. “They wanted to get in a game and try to make the game closer than it was. They have pride too. They wanted to get in there and keep fighting.”

The game, held at Barclays Center, was challenging for the Fever, who are struggling with a 2-9 season record. Clark re-entered the game at the 7:54 mark of the fourth quarter but had to leave shortly after due to an injury sustained when hit in the ear on a screen. She left the game with 6:29 remaining and did not return, briefly visiting the locker room before returning to the bench.

Boston’s time on the court was also brief but eventful. She entered around the seven-minute mark and during a tussle with Liberty’s backup forward Leonie Fiebich, Boston fell and began clutching her ankle. After a few moments on the floor, she limped off to the locker room under her power, assisted by Fever athletic trainer Todd Champlin, and did not come back to the court.

Post-game, Coach Sides admitted she had yet to receive a full update on the condition of her players. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to Todd, he was still evaluating them when I went back there,” she said. “It was Aliyah with an ankle, Caitlin with an ear, that’s all. I don’t know anything else.”

The decision to play Boston and Clark in such a situation has raised questions, but Sides’ remarks highlight a philosophy of resilience and determination, regardless of the scoreboard. This approach, while risky, underscores the competitive spirit the coach wants to instill in her team, even in the face of daunting odds.

The Fever, with time to recover, do not play again until the following Friday against the Mystics, providing Boston and Clark with some much-needed rest and recovery time. This break will be crucial as the team looks to regroup and address its challenges in what remains of the season.



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