Ex-NFL star gives his pick for WNBA Rookie of the Year

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The WNBA Rookie of the Year is a two-horse race going into the All-Star and Olympics break.

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark and Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese have both made strong cases for the award. 

Clark is averaging 16.1 points and 7.4 assists per game and just recorded a triple-double, the first for a rookie in WNBA history. Reese is the only rookie averaging a double-double with 14.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game and is on a record-breaking streak of consecutive double-doubles.

Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman, who has been among the fans tuning into the WNBA matchups this summer, told Fox News Digital who he is picking in the race.

“It’s so hard because they’re both breaking records,” Merriman said. “This is the good thing and I know people don’t want to hear me say this – no matter who you pick there’s gonna be an uproar. Three was an uproar when Caitlin Clark didn’t make the USA team. I think whoever you pick there’s gonna be an uproar, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Caitlin Clark is my favorite player. I love the way she’s handled herself. No matter what someone said, no matter which storyline, she’s always came back with the right answer. She’s my favorite player.

“I think you can’t go wrong with you give it to Angel Reese.”

Merriman explained that he believes Clark is changing the game for the future, but Reese’s numbers right now are just too good.

“Angel Reese, what she’s doing right now, and those numbers are historic, so you would almost have to give it to her.”

Angel Reese vs Storm


The former San Diego Chargers linebacker added that the WNBA brass should be cultivating the popularity and storylines to help increase and maintain the popularity they are getting right now.

“What Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese have done for the WNBA has been wonders. I think that, I hate to say this, but it’s almost like a Magic-Bird type of feeling because it’s one of those things where all this commotion still brings eyeballs,” he said. “People still watch the game to see storylines. The reason why the NFL is so big is because they always create storylines – this quarterback was drafted over that quarterback, that quarterback had this many Super Bowls. The NFL is great because they make storylines.

“My only hope is whoever is leading the WNBA right now as far as building up the storylines, building up the brand, I hope they do not drop the ball. This is the perfect opportunity to take the WNBA to new heights. Build upon these storylines, leading up to a game. They have to take advantage of this now and they cannot drop the ball.”

Merriman said the popularity the league is building right now could lead to a greater incentive not only for the WNBA as a whole, but for the players as well.

Shawne Merriman in Las Vegas in 2023

“This is the perfect opportunity to change women’s sports forever, if they do it right,” he said. “They got the perfect scenario with Angel Reese, with Caitlin Clark, with (Las Vegas Aces star) A’ja Wilson. You have about 5-10 superstars that you can create these storylines, these build-ups and take the WNBA to new heights so they can get the money that they deserve.

“And I hope that the leaders, the execs, whoever’s in charge right now, takes advantage of this moment because it won’t happen again for 20 or 30 years.”

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