WNBA upgrades foul on Caitlin Clark by Chennedy Carter, fines Angel Reese for no postgame interview

NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA on Sunday upgraded Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter’s foul against Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark to a flagrant-1 violation after reviewing the play.

Carter gave a shoulder shot to Clark that knocked her to the floor before an inbound pass during the third quarter of Saturday’s 71-70 win by the Fever. The officials called it an away-from-the-ball foul and didn’t review the play. It was deemed a common foul at the time.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Clark said after the game. “It is what it is. It’s a physical game. Go make the free throw and execute on offense, and I feel like that’s kind of what we did.”

Carter didn’t answer questions about Clark or the play after the game on Saturday, but spoke to media on Monday.

“I’m a competitor, and I’m going to compete no matter who you are, and no matter who’s in front of me. So that’s just what it was,” Carter said. “Heat of the moment play. We’re getting at it. We’re getting back and forth. It’s basketball. It’s all hoops. After we finish the game, it’s all love.”

Carter then went on to say she took exception to those criticizing her without watching the “whole game.”

“I’m seeing a lot of things — players, fans not understanding who I am as a player,” Carter said. “You have to understand me as a person, too. And don’t just look at one tape and form an opinion about me. I’m truly a passionate person about the game, and I’m genuine. You can ask all my teammates, they’ve gotten to know me. They know the real Chennedy Carter.

“So I’m just saying, don’t form an opinion off of one little clip. And you didn’t even see the whole game and/or the play that led to that.”

Chicago coach Teresa Weatherspoon said Monday that she talked to Carter about it.

“Physical play, intensity and a competitive spirit are hallmarks of Chicago Sky basketball. Chennedy got caught up in the heat of the moment in an effort to win the game,” Weatherspoon said in a statement. “She and I have discussed what happened and that it was not appropriate, nor is it what we do or who we are. Chennedy understands that there are better ways to handle situations on the court, and she will learn from this, as we all will.”

Also Sunday, the league fined Sky forward Angel Reese $1,000 for failing to make herself available to media after Saturday’s game. And the WNBA fined Chicago $5,000 for failing to ensure that all players comply with league media policies.

The league office may reclassify a flagrant foul or upgrade a foul to a flagrant that isn’t called during the game. In addition, the league may impose a fine or suspend a player for a flagrant foul. The WNBA didn’t do either to Carter.

Players accumulate points for flagrant fouls during the regular season and receive suspensions if they reach a certain number.

“This league is awesome, it’s a physical league,” Indiana coach Christie Sides said before playing the New York Liberty on Sunday night. “That was a non-basketball play that needed to be called in that moment.”

Sides praised Clark in her postgame interview Saturday for keeping her composure through all the physical play she’s faced this season.

“She showed it last night,” the coach said. “Got up and kept playing. All she did was ask the officials to review it. They didn’t want to listen to it. I applaud her for how she handled it last night.”

Clark finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Reese had eight points and 13 rebounds.

“I grew up playing basketball with the boys. It’s always been physical and feisty and you have to find a way to hold your own,” Clark said.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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