Angel Reese: Anyone playing LSU basketball in the NCAA Tournament ‘should be scared’.. Reason revealed that makes Angel Reese even more beloved by fans

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Two times now, LSU women’s basketball pushed the No. 1 team in the country to the brink.

After an instant class in Baton Rouge back in December that South Carolina rallied on the road to win 76-70, the rematch in the SEC Tournament championship game not only lived up to the first matchup, it surpassed it.

The Gamecocks (32-0) ultimately held off the Tigers (28-5) again to win 79-72, taking their eighth conference tournament championship in the past 10 years.

What makes the second time around that much more impressive than the first is how shorthanded the Tigers were heading into the matchup. LSU star Angel Reese arrived at the arena Sunday in a walking boot as she’s been dealing with an ankle injury.

Junior point guard Last-Tear Poa suffered a concussion during the SEC Tournament semifinal win over Ole Miss on Saturday and did not play against the Gamecocks.

Freshman sensation Mikaylah Williams did return to action in the title game but that was only out of shear necessity as LSU was down to just nine active players, but she had missed the three previous games with a right foot issue.

“We not going to make that an excuse,” Reese said. “We’re not scared of South Carolina. I’m going to repeat that. We’re not scared of South Carolina. A lot of people are scared of them. We came in and battled and battled and battled till the end. Of course, we came up short.

“But we’ll see ’em again.”

Because she was shorthanded, LSU coach Kim Mulkey had to give extended minutes to freshmen Janae Kent and center Aalyah Del Rosario, who barely played against the Gamecocks earlier this season.

“I’m happy. I’m going to acknowledge my teammates first, freshmen Janae, Aalyah, they came off the bench and did big things for us. Mikaylah, she was frustrated because she had to do minimum numbers and minimum time,” Reese said. “She came out and defended and played as hard as she could.

“Proud of this team. We played hard, we played tough, did whatever it took to win. Sadly, we came up short.”

Per NCAA selection committee rules and how it handles seeding and regional placement for teams for the NCAA Tournament, South Carolina and LSU won’t be in the same corner of the bracket as they’re the top two finishers in the SEC.

So the earliest the two teams would play would be at the Final Four in Cleveland.

Why Angel Reese said teams 'should be scared' to play LSU in NCAA Tourney

LSU heads into the NCAA Tournament with more confidence than it had before the SEC Tournament, as Mulkey said, considering everything the team navigated over the weekend.

And how the team played, Reese said, should put the tournament field on notice.

“I’m happy where we are right now,” she said.

“Anybody seeing us moving forward should be scared.”

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