Shawne Merriman is invested in the WNBA and puts his thoughts and considerations into who he dubs as the Rookie of the Year. Photo Credits: Grace Smith-USA TODAY Sports (Caitlin Clark, left); Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Angel Reese, right). Photo Credits: Grace Smith-USA TODAY Sports (Caitlin Clark, left); Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports (Angel Reese, right).

The WNBA uptick in fandom has been welcomed with open arms. Those fans range from the casual to the celebrity and former sports legends.

Shawne Merriman also found himself tuning into the latest action in women’s basketball and offered his Rookie of the Year predictions.

Naturally, he had a tough decision naming the winner between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese who are putting up masterful rookie seasons.

“It’s so hard because they’re both breaking records,” Merriman told Fox Digital. “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. There 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.”

The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker was very matter-of-fact when it came to his favorite player, however.

“Caitlin Clark is my favorite player. I love the way she’s handled herself,” Merriman said per Ryan Gaydos, Fox News. “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 giving it to Angel Reese.”

Reese is averaging 14.1 points per game and 11.9 rebounds per game — and those double-doubles. She secured her 14th double-double of the season to extend a WNBA record.

Clark is averaging 16.1 points and six rebounds per game. She recorded a triple-double on Saturday in the  83-78 win over the New York Liberty.

“What Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese have done for the WNBA has been wonders,” he said “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.”

[Fox Digital]

About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for MLB.com and NBC Sports Bay Area.