Serving Franklin County, WA

Be respectful

The NCAA basketball tournament ended the first week in April. The all-time leading scorer in NCAA history is Cailtlin Clark from the Iowa Hawkeyes. She and her teammates were runner ups to the National Champions two years in a row. Clark, the three point making machine was selected number one in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever

Now because of Clark the ratings for the tournament semi-final and final were record setting. People wanted to watch her play. Some for her success and some that hoped she would fail and I’m not talking about the fans for the opposing teams. I mean people who didn’t like her for a thousand reasons.

Several former WNBA players were going on and on about how she would fail because she was now going to be playing against mature women and the physical game was going to do her in. Clark is not a physically imposing woman but she is a bundle of energy when she plays. She did decide to declare for the draft with a year of college eligibility left.

I don’t have any favorite professional basketball player and that includes the NBA. I do think that Clark is at a disadvantage against her opponents because she came off of a grueling nearly 40 game NCAA schedule starting in November and ending in April and the WNBA got going with training camp and exhibition games less than a month later. The returning WNBA players had some time off unless they played professionally in another country but most had some time off to recuperate.

I don’t think it is fair to judge the number one pick of the draft when they are playing for the worst team in the league. It’s for certain that Indiana needs more than Caitlin Clark to make the Fever a playoff caliber team. It seems that everyone can criticize her but I haven’t heard that she is criticizing anyone of her teammates or her coach. She is still in the early stages of what could be a great career.

Around the league the excitement is there because it seems that most venues have sold out crowds when her team is in town. Such was the case when Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle was sold out for the Storm and Fever game last week. No one can say that Clark doesn’t draw a crowd either on the court or in the arenas. At some point in time Clark will rally her team to victory but she will need help too. If you remember the New York Liberty team loaded up with Breanna Stewart from the Storm and Courtney Vandersloot from the Chicago Sky last year in order to have an unbeatable team and win a championship but the Las Vegas Aces would be victors in the playoffs in 2023.

So nothing is guaranteed even if you take experience and talent from teams that had won championships in years past. So people need to be patient with Indiana and let this team grow. But the exciting thing is that more arenas maybe filling up with fans wanting to see Caitlin Clark play but maybe they will get a chance to see their hometown team play and they may return to watch more games in the future. I know that in order for WNBA players to make more money there has to be more interest in the women’s game and the younger players need to bring that excitement. Fans that followed teams like South Carolina, Iowa, LSU and Connecticut have players that can help rosters for sure.

The NIL helped Clark make some big money through advertisements and it set off a few of the veteran WNBA players that she is making money without proving herself. Well I think there is a good chance that those players need to talk with their agents and try to figure out why they didn’t get some good advertising endorsements. Caitlin Clark is not the problem here. Maybe some of these athletes need to cozy up to Clark and maybe get a chance to star in an ad or two. That is easy money if you can act and say a few lines. It certainly beats running up and down the court for money.

At some point in time the WNBA athletes will make better salaries but they need fans and TV revenue to get it. Caitlin Clark is a start and respecting her and her game could be a big boost to those that hate her now. Trust me it wouldn’t hurt.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].

 

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