The Indiana Fever got their second win of the season on Saturday, topping the Chicago Sky 71-70 in Indianapolis — but it didn't come without controversy.

In the third quarter, Chicago guard Chennedy Carter committed an away-from-the ball foul on Caitlin Clark that saw Clark tumbling to the ground before an inbound pass. During the game, the officials ruled the contact a common foul and did not review the play.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Just Women’s Sports (@justwomenssports)

The following day, the WNBA upgraded the foul to a flagrant-1 violation upon further review. The change in ruling allots Carter one tally in an accrual system that counts towards a future suspension. (Should it have been upgraded during the game, Clark would have been awarded one additional free throw.) The organization determined that Carter will not receive a fine.

Interviewed during the game, Clark called called Carter's actions "not a basketball play." 

"I wasn't expecting [the foul]," Clark told reporters in the postgame press conference. "But it's just like, respond, calm down and let your play do the talking, it is what it is. It's a physical game, go make the free throw and then execute on offense. I feel like that's what we did."

Earlier last week, Clark expressed her frustrations over what she views is a double standard when it comes to receiving contact from opponents. 

"I feel like I’m just at the point where you accept it and don’t retaliate. Just let them hit you, be what it is, don’t let it get inside your head and know it’s coming," she said. "I think at this point I know I’m going to take a couple of hard shots a game and that’s what it is. I’m trying not to let it bother me and just stay in the game and stay in what’s important because usually it’s the second person that gets caught if you retaliate."

After Saturday's win, Fever coach Christie Sides took to social media to demand the WNBA take action, calling the officiating "unacceptable."

"When will the consistent complaints be heard?!? Something has to be done!" she wrote.

Carter, meanwhile, would not address the foul postgame, telling reporters she would not be answering "any Caitlin Clark questions." However, she later spoke out against Clark on social media, tweeting "beside three point shooting what does she bring to the table."

In response to the scuffle, Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon released a statement on Monday morning saying that she had discussed the incident with her player and that Carter — along with the rest of the team — will learn from the situation.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Just Women’s Sports (@justwomenssports)

"As a team, we will grow together and continue to work hard to display strong leadership and set a positive example for our competitors, fans, and partners," Weatherspoon concluded.

Chennedy Carter isn’t done with the WNBA.

The 24-year-old guard is waiting for her next WNBA opportunity, one she doesn’t plan to waste, she told Andscape’s Sean Hurd. Carter was released by the Sparks ahead of the 2023 season.

“I love basketball. I love to play. I’m passionate about it. My time is coming soon,” she said. “Chennedy Carter is not finished.”

The No. 4 pick in the 2020 WNBA draft, Carter started her career in Atlanta, where she scored a franchise-record 18 points in her Dream debut. She went on to set other franchise rookie records that season, from scoring 35 points in a single game to scoring 25-plus points in consecutive games. When she’s at her best, she can be among the best in the game.

“She’s a phenomenal talent. I think everyone understands that and sees that,” Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Andscape. “From a basketball standpoint, I don’t think we’ve seen a player like her in the league when she’s been able to play. You just think of the crazy potential that she has.”

Yet Carter has had a rocky start to her career.

She was suspended in July 2021 following a locker-room confrontation with then-teammate Courtney Williams. She did not play again in 2021 and then was traded to the Sparks.

In Los Angeles, Carter averaged just 16.4 minutes per game in 2022. She missed four games toward the end of the season due to what interim coach Fred Williams called a “coach’s decision.”

This offseason saw Carter lead the top Turkish basketball league in scoring. She also believes the time in Turkey gave her a better handle on other aspects of her game, which boosted her confidence — and, she hopes, her WNBA prospects.

“I’m pretty much in control of whenever I play. I’m in control of that,” Carter said. “I just want to find the best situation for me. I’m a talented player and I want to be utilized the right way. … I’m ready to go.”

The Los Angeles Sparks will miss the WNBA playoffs for the second straight season after falling to the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night.

The loss came in the penultimate game of a tumultuous season, and the postgame comments surrounding Chennedy Carter underscored the tension surrounding the Sparks.

Carter had missed the Sparks’ previous four games due to a “coach’s decision,” interim coach Fred Williams said. The guard returned to the lineup Thursday after what Williams had what he described as a change of heart, but her return did not prevent the Sparks (13-22) from slipping out of the postseason race.

After the loss, Carter was asked about what contributed to Williams’ decision to put her on the court.

“I think that’s a conversation for after the season,” she said after a pause. “So, no comment.”

The Sparks fired head coach and general manager Derek Fisher in June, and then-assistant Fred Williams took over as interim head coach.

In July, Liz Cambage left Los Angeles, agreeing to a contract divorce with the team following reports of locker room turmoil.

Cambage joined the Sparks via a $170,000, one-year deal ahead of the 2022 season. The move to acquire the Australian star came after a controversial trade that sent Erica Wheeler and the team’s 2022 second-round pick and 2023 first-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Carter.

While some members of the Sparks’ leadership team opposed the trade for Carter, Fisher “convinced them to go for it,” The Athletic reported. Carter had played just 11 games with the Dream during the 2021 season, with the team suspending the star guard following a locker-room confrontation.

In Los Angeles, Carter has averaged 15 minutes per game, taking the court for 21 minutes Thursday after being held out of the team’s previous four matchups. Ahead of the game, Williams cited a conversation he had with Carter in his decision to put her on the floor.

“There are certain things that her and I talked about at shootaround that we both came to a comprise on and so it’s time to move on,” he said. “I felt that she’s a player who has shown the last few games to support her teammates and everyone so we will get her out there and see what she can do.”

After the game, while Carter declined to comment on Williams’ decision-making process, her teammate Brittney Sykes had some thoughts on the matter. Sykes shared her takeaways while sitting next to Carter in the postgame press conference.

“I’m very proud of (Chennedy Carter) and the adversity that she’s been through this season,” Sykes told reporters. “She’s a great player, so let’s just leave it that. There is no secret. There is no nothing. That is between coach and that’s between (Chennedy).”

In Williams’ postgame press conference, the coach also declined to give details of his conversation with Carter.

“For me, it’s important for that because those are personal things that Chennedy Carter and I talked about that savors her to continue on her career and so I protect her on that end and probably you’ll never know,” he said. “But all I know is she was out there playing basketball today and having fun.”

Without their 2023 first-round pick after the trade for Carter, the Sparks will look to regroup and rebrand following a season marked by disorder and drama.

Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike, Kristi Toliver, Jordin Canada, Lexie Brown and Sykes all enter the offseason as unrestricted free agents, adding intrigue to Los Angeles’ rebuild.

TORRANCE, Calif. — With a mischievous grin on her face, new Los Angeles Sparks point guard Chennedy Carter pulled up a chair among the media and prepared to mess with her teammates Te’a Cooper and Arella Guirantes.

Called on to ask a question, Carter got down to business.

“How you doin’? My name is Hollywood, Hollywood Carter,” Carter introduced herself with the straightest face she could muster. “What are you guys looking most forward to about this season?”

The question was a softball, but it wasn’t meant to be hard-hitting. Carter was having fun, and her lightheartedness was contagious, eliciting laughter from Cooper and Guirantes. And when Carter took her place at the podium in the following Q&A session, Cooper razzed her back.

Coming off a disappointing 12-20 season, in which they missed the playoffs for just the third time in the past 22 seasons and the first time since 2011, the Sparks could understandably feel extra pressure. The expectations are even higher this season after the team landed superstar Liz Cambage from the Las Vegas Aces in free agency and added Carter, Katie Lou Samuelson and Jordin Canada to the mix. Four of the team’s players — Nneka Ogwumike, Cambage, Kristie Toliver and Chiney Ogwumike — have combined for 15 WNBA All-Star Game selections. The roster has won a total of six WNBA championships and features two first overall draft picks, two second overall selections and seven players taken in the top four spots of their respective drafts. The Sparks, too, boast six combined career All-Defensive First Team selections.

And yet, despite all the talent and accompanying expectations, the vibe among players and head coach/general manager Derek Fisher at media day on Wednesday was light. The Sparks know what’s at stake this summer, but they’re taking a levelheaded approach.

“It’s time for us to show more so than talk and tell,” Fisher said. “We hear noise from the outside, we’ll continue to hear more of it, but we’re really just going to focus on who we are and becoming the best version of ourselves. We believe that with this group, if we can get anywhere close to the potential that the group holds, the results will take care of themselves.”

Fisher emphasized patience when it comes to reacting to the results of a team dependent on several newcomers.

“It’s not easy to just put 12 players together and just go out there and win every night at the professional level or at any level,” said Fisher, who played 18 seasons in the NBA before moving into coaching and taking over the Sparks job in 2019.

“We have to be realistic about some of the time that it will take to find the rhythm and the timing for how we can create success with this version of our team. With all that said, we expect a lot from ourselves. We have to be open to being so fully present in each moment that we’re not holding ourselves to some arbitrary expectation. It’s really about what we’re doing right now to get better … If it takes us a little bit more time, so be it.”

Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Sparks have tried to keep things loose, influenced in part by two new goofballs on the team, Carter and Cambage. Cooper, a third-year guard, has known Carter since their days rooming together at Team USA trials.

“She just played the whole time,” Cooper said. “We just laughed all night long. She’s still the same jokester.”

“Chennedy’s a kid,” Nneka Ogwumike added. “She’s a kid, and she brings that energy. Sometimes it’s great to have that type of energy, especially when you have certain returners that were holding really big minutes last year through the challenges that we experienced. … Her nickname is ‘Hollywood,’ which is so funny because everyone’s asking me if she’s from here and I’m like ‘No, she’s not.’ That’s just the lightness that she brings.”

Four-time WNBA All-Star and 2018 scoring champion Cambage also displayed her proclivity for play during media day. She joked that Brittney Sykes should focus on dunking in a game (the defensive specialist regularly blocks the 6-foot-8 Cambage’s shot in practice), superstitiously refused to disclose any of her pinky promises that have yet to materialize and dropped the occasional curse word before apologizing each time.

Another key figure keeping everyone light is the team’s head coach, whom Sykes described as “a funny dude on the low.”

“If you get him to yourself on the side, he’s got some jokes,” the 2021 WNBA All-Defensive First Teamer said of Fisher. “He’s actually got some jokes in his back pocket.”

Jokes aside, Cambage, like her coach, preached patience.

“The most important thing, at the start of this season, is that we’re focusing on our chemistry and getting it together,” she said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’re not going to be the team tomorrow. It’s going to take time. Just as long as we got the chemistry right and we’re vibing at the end of the season, that’s all that’s important.”

Despite a realistic attitude, Cambage herself expects huge success from her new team this season.

“Crowd’s gonna be lit. Building’s gonna be lit. Women’s basketball is going to be lit. It’s going to be the most wild summer the WNBA’s ever seen. That’s how I think this summer’s going to go,” the 30-year-old center declared. “And we’re going to have a ring at the end of it.”

Joshua Fischman is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering Angel City FC and the Los Angeles Sparks. He has covered basketball for Vantage Sports and Hoops Rumors and served as co-host of “On the NBA Beat” podcast. Joshua received his master’s in Sports Media from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @JJTheJuggernaut.

Chennedy Carter spoke with the media on Thursday for the first time since being traded to the Los Angeles Sparks from the Atlanta Dream.

The former No. 4 overall pick was suspended by the Dream last season for what the team described as “conduct detrimental to the team.” She did not return for the rest of the season. Despite newly-appointed head coach Tanisha Wright calling her “a part of our roster” in December, Carter was traded to the Sparks on Feb. 6.

When asked about the situation with the Dream, Carter said that she doesn’t feel comfortable talking about what went down.

“I’m happy with the new move,” she said. “I’m focused on LA and that’s all I can say.

“The last year for me has been kind of difficult, a little bit depressing, just because the game of basketball [was] obviously taken away from me. But I also got a lot of time to find out different things about myself. Spend a lot more time with my family, do a lot more traveling and also just work on my game. I was able to better my game and grow as an individual.”

When asked about the potential of playing with Liz Cambage, who has signed with the Sparks for next season, she said it was something that she has thought about “since I got to the WNBA.”

“It’s like Shaq and Kobe,” she added. “You really have to pick and choose. If I get that five, it’s gonna be trouble.”

The Los Angeles Sparks acquired Chennedy Carter on Saturday, sending Erica Wheeler as well as draft picks to the Atlanta Dream.

The Sparks also acquired the rights to Li Yueru from the Dream. In exchange, the Dream received the No. 15 pick in the 2022 draft and a 2023 first-round pick.

Carter was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft. During her rookie season, she averaged 17.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game and earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Over two seasons in the WNBA, she’s averaged 16.1 points and 3.4 assists per game.

“Chennedy Carter has the skills to be an All-WNBA talent,” said GM and head coach Derek Fisher. “She can score at all three levels and has a tenacious approach to the game. At just 23 years old, we’re excited about the potential for her to be a star for many years to come.”

Despite her talents, Carter’s time with the Dream was marked by controversy, as Carter spent much of the 2021 season suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team” following a reported altercation in the Atlanta Dream locker room. Last December, WNBA veteran Angel McCoughtry said she was working to mentor Carter.

Yueru is one of the top international centers for the Chinese national team. At the Tokyo Olympics, she averaged 14.8 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 78.6 percent from the field.

Wheeler was with the Sparks for just one season, signing with the team as a free agent in 2021. Through six seasons in the WNBA, she’s averaged 9.7 points, 3.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game.

The Sparks have been active this offseason, with Liz Cambage reportedly verbally committing to playing for the team in 2022.

Angel McCoughtry is lending a hand to Atlanta Dream guard Chennedy Carter.

The WNBA legend revealed on Tuesday that she started mentoring Carter a few months ago.

“As I have gotten to know her she is an awesome kid,” McCoughtry wrote. “Fun, energetic and eager to learn. Expecting great things out of this young kid!!”

McCoughtry, who currently plays for the Las Vegas Aces, spent 10 years in Atlanta after the Dream selected her first overall in the 2009 WNBA Draft. A five-time WNBA All-Star, McCoughtry has twice been the WNBA scoring and steals leader.

It’s hard to imagine a better mentor for Carter, who will be entering her third season in the WNBA in 2022 after Dream coach Tanisha Wright said on Monday that the guard is “a part of our roster.”

The Dream suspended Carter indefinitely in July following a verbal altercation in the locker room after a game against the Aces. Courtney Williams, who was reportedly involved in the exchange with Carter, will not re-sign with the Dream after the WNBA suspended her and Crystal Bradford for getting into a fight outside of an Atlanta club in May.

Prior to her suspension, Carter was excelling for the Dream despite missing the first six games with an elbow injury. Starting all of the 11 games she played in, Carter reached double-digit scoring in eight of them, including four games of 20-plus points. In 2020, Carter was named to the WNBA All-Rookie team after leading all rookies with 17.4 points per game. She also was the youngest player in WNBA history to score at least 30 points in a game when she racked up 35 against Seattle at 21 years and 266 days old.

Carter should factor heavily into the Dream’s 2022 plans. The team has just five players under contract for the year, including the 23-year-old. The Dream also have the third overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.

Atlanta Dream head coach Tanisha Wright made clear on Monday that Chennedy Carter will remain with the team, calling her “a part of our roster.”

Wright referred to Carter and 2021 rookie guard Aari McDonald as “really good young talents” the team can build around.

“I think bringing in some veteran leadership can definitely help them,” said the first-year head coach. “People who can show them how to be a pro day in, day out, give them tidbits and little nuances of the game, people who can challenge them and help grow their game.”

Carter’s presence on the team has been in question ever since the Dream suspended the guard indefinitely in July following a verbal altercation in the locker room after a game against the Las Vegas Aces. Courtney Williams, the player reportedly involved in a heated exchange with Carter, will not re-sign with the Dream after a separate incident. The WNBA suspended Williams and Atlanta teammate Crystal Bradford last month after a video surfaced showing the players getting into a fight outside of an Atlanta day club in May.

In the past few months, the Dream have made changes to their leadership, hiring Wright as head coach and naming Dan Padover general manager. At the time of his hiring, Padover confirmed that the team would not re-sign Williams and Bradford and that he intended to reach out to Carter.

Atlanta has just five players under contract for 2022, including Carter and McDonald, so there is flexibility to bring in veterans to help guide the team. The Dream also have the third overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.

Dan Padover, named general manager of the Atlanta Dream on Monday, recognizes that creating a destination franchise won’t be an overnight job. The Dream, who have gone 23-65 and failed to advance to the playoffs in the past three seasons, are looking to enter a new era under first-time WNBA owners and a first-year head coach.

Atlanta has just five players under contract for 2022, including 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks Chennedy Carter and Aari McDonald, meaning Padover can help shape the roster right away.

“Everybody can see who we’ve got under contract; it’s not a lot. And they can see the new infrastructure we’re putting in place, which is a lot,” Padover told ESPN. “It’s a basketball purist’s dream. You’re building in every way: through the draft, through free agency and through a leadership perspective. Kind of every reason you get into the profession.”

Padover confirmed the team will not re-sign Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford, who were involved in an altercation outside of an Atlanta club in May and at the center of controversy after a video of the fight surfaced earlier this month. Their agent, Marcus Crenshaw, said the Dream had informed him that they did not intend to bring his clients back.

Another player whose future with Atlanta has been up in the air is Carter. The 2020 fourth overall draft pick was suspended indefinitely in July for “conduct detrimental to the team” and did not play the rest of the season. She has since hinted at her frustration with the organization on Twitter.

“I plan to reach out to each of the players on our roster, including Chennedy, and take the winter to figure out the structure of our roster,” Padover said.

Padover, named the WNBA’s Executive of the Year the past two seasons, said Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer understood his decision to leave Las Vegas for Atlanta.

“He basically kind of said to me, ‘This is your next step. We’re competitors now, but if you ever need an ear, I’m here,'” Padover said. “Relatively speaking, the job will be pretty similar to what I did for the Aces. There wasn’t anything I wanted to do from a personnel standpoint in Vegas that I wasn’t able to do. But I think the impact I can have from day one with the Dream can be bigger.”

Chennedy Carter continued to allude to her frustration with the Atlanta Dream on Sunday. The team suspended the second-year guard indefinitely in July following a verbal altercation in the locker room after a game against the Las Vegas Aces.

The Dream have not given any indication of their plans with Carter, whom they drafted fourth overall in 2020. The sides had reportedly been in contact throughout Carter’s suspension.

Atlanta went 2-13 in Carter’s absence and finished the season in second-to-last place, missing out on the WNBA playoffs for the third straight season. Before her suspension, the 22-year-old averaged 14.2 points and 3.3 assists in 11 games for the Dream.

Carter broke her silence at the end of the season, tweeting, “They play big dawg until it’s actually time to be one.”