‘I’m still a human being’, ‘I would still sit here and say I’m unapologetically me’: LSU’s Angel Reese reveals challenges and criticism after season-ending loss

Reese became emotional after LSU’s season-ending loss on Monday while discussing the abuse she said she has endured since winning the National Championship last season.

Angel Reese must quickly chose between LSU and the WNBA - Chicago Sun-Times


Angel Reese of the LSU Tigers looks on during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024 in Albany, New York.

This time the only hand gesture from Angel Reese was a high five and a hug.

And perhaps a wave goodbye?

The LSU women’s basketball star walked off the court with her future uncertain on Monday following the team’s 94-87 loss to Iowa in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Reese has not yet announced whether she will return to LSU for her final year of eligibility or declare for the WNBA draft.

Her junior season came to an end after a rematch of last year’s National Championship game, with Iowa star Caitlin Clark scoring 41 points in the highly-anticipated revenge game. Last year, Reese led LSU to the title with a win over Iowa and celebrated in front of Clark by pointing to her ring finger and making the John Cena “You can’t see me” hand gesture.

After Monday’s loss, the two stars embraced after the game with a high five and brief hug.

“She just told me continue to be a great player,” Reese said to reporters after recording 17 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in the game before fouling out in the closing minutes. “And I told her continue to be a great player, as well. And keep elevating the game. And go win it.”

Reese, in her postgame media session, also revealed the challenges and abuse she said she has endured since winning the National Championship last season.

“I’ve been through so much, I’ve seen so much, I’ve been attacked so many times,” Reese said. “Death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been so many things and I’ve stood strong every single time. I just try to stand strong for my teammates because I don’t want them to see me down and not be there for them.”

Reese’s comments came in the wake of a Los Angeles Times reporter apologizing on social media earlier in the day for a critical column written about LSU.

“I’m still a human,” Reese said. “All this has happened since I won the National Championship and I said the other day I haven’t been happy since then. And it sucks, but I still wouldn’t change anything. I would still sit here and say I’m unapologetically me. I’m gonna always leave that mark and be who I am and stand on that.”

Reese teared up while teammate Flau’jae Johnson defended her.

“Everybody can have their opinion of Angel Reese, but you all don’t know her,” Johnson said. “I know the real Angel Reese, and the person I see every day is a strong person, a caring and loving person. The crown she wears is heavy. She’s the type of teammate that’s going to make you believe in yourself.”

Reese, who spent two seasons with LSU after transferring from Maryland, entered Monday’s game averaging 18.7 points and 13.2 rebounds this season as SEC Player of the Year. In her first season with LSU, she averaged 23.0 points and 15.4 rebounds en route to being named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament. She was also a three-time All-Defensive Team selection.

Over the last two seasons, Reese and Clark have helped elevate the sport with their collegiate rivalry, producing the most-watched women’s basketball game of all time last year — a rating that was likely topped on Monday

“I think it’s just great for the sport, just being able to be a part of history,” Reese said. “Like I said, no matter which way it went tonight, I know this was going to be a night for the ages.”

Is Angel Reese entering the WNBA draft?

Unlike Clark, who declared for the WNBA draft ahead of the NCAA Tournament, Reese did not publicly announce – or perhaps even decide on – her plans with one year of eligibility remaining.

“‘Should I stay, should I go? I don’t know,'” she posted on X on Feb. 24.

 

Reese said earlier in the tournament that her decision to stay at LSU for another year or declare for the WNBA draft would not be a financial one thanks to her lucrative NIL earnings.

“For me, I’ve honestly learned that regardless, I’m going to be able to make money staying or going,” Reese told reporters earlier in the tournament. “Understanding that my brand has been built, where I know that more than being in college is something I can do. Like, I have a brand — the deals are going to follow me if I leave or stay.”

 

WNBA mock drafts have Reese projected to be one of the top picks in the 2024 draft, going seventh overall to the Minnesota Lynx in recent mock drafts by ESPN and CBS Sports.

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