Aces' A'ja Wilson discusses 'energy' shift in WNBA after Caitlin Clark conversation got 'too gossipy'

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Caitlin Clark, once again, brought fans to the seats on Tuesday night.

Despite her Indiana Fever losing their fourth game out of their last five, and her dropping only 13 points (she did hand out 11 assists), over 20,000 people packed the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas to see her take on the defending WNBA champions.

It was the biggest crowd the Aces have seen in franchise history, and it was also the arena’s largest crowd ever, with 20,366 coming through the doors.


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Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, is guarded by A’ja Wilson, #22 of the Las Vegas Aces, in the first quarter of their game at T-Mobile Arena on July 2, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Clark’s stardom, though, has also been a subject of some hot-button debates. One headline came back in May, when Aces star and back-to-back WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson said that Clark being White was a “huge thing” in her popularity.

However, Clark says the “energy” in the WNBA has shifted from gossip and making headlines to appreciation for the game.

“It’s a good vibe, it’s a good feel. People are just coming to see the product on the floor. It got a little too gossipy in the beginning, but then it started to fizzle out, because people are starting to realize we’re really good at what we do, we’re elite at what we do. I love the energy now,” Wilson said on Tuesday to the ESPN broadcast after she dropped 28 points and nine rebounds.

The two shared a hug and smile after the Aces’ 88-69 win.

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Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, left, and Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson, center, vie for a loose ball during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Tuesday, July 2, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)


“People are seeing good hoops, and that’s what it’s about. We come out here, we work hard, we play basketball at a very high level, and people are believing in it, they’re trusting in it, and investing in it. And that’s the energy we’re feeling right now,” Wilson continued.

Wilson’s race comments are just the tip of the iceberg, as there have been plenty of slights directed at Clark, both directly and indirectly.

Whether it is opponents playing harder (and arguably dirtier), celebrating her rough showings on the floor or social media posts, Clark has become a rather polarizing figure for much more than her skill.

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Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, smiles during the game against the Phoenix Mercury on June 30, 2024 at Footprint Center in Phoenix. (Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images)


Last week, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert shut down the notion that she was targeted, saying that it seems that way due to her spotlight, and her treatment on the floor is similar to everyone else.

The rookie phenom received the most votes for this month’s All-Star Game, being the only player to receive over 700,000 votes – she beat Wilson by nearly 90,000.

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