LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark enter March Madness as the reigning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and unanimous National Player of the Year, respectively. They have heated up March Madness with strong comments, will the iconic image of last year’s March Madness be repeated?

LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark enter March Madness as the reigning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and unanimous National Player of the Year, respectively

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark return to the NCAA Tournament for potentially the final time this March with ambitions of either repeat or revenge.

A year since they turned themselves into two of the biggest stars in college basketball, Clark knows this will be her last March Madness. Reese could come to that same conclusion, as Clark and Cameron Brink already have, in the coming days, or pull a Paige Bueckers by returning for another year.

LSU teammate Hailey Van Lith is similarly undecided, and how their national championship title defense fares over the next month could go a long way to making that decision for them. Just like a year ago, they enter the first round fresh from a loss in the SEC Tournament.

Reese and Co. did reach the championship game in the SEC Tournament rather than falling in the semi-finals to Tennessee as they did a year ago. But they nonetheless lost to the same South Carolina team that beat them in their one regular-season meeting.

The Gamecocks have won all four head-to-head games since Kim Mulkey became head coach, extending their overall winning streak over LSU to 16 games, but Reese insists that record does not instill fear in the team. “We’re not scared of South Carolina,” she said during her press conference after the SEC championship game.

“And imma repeat that: we’re not scared of South Carolina. And a lot of people are scared of them … we came up short, but we’ll see ’em again.”

Angel Reese's apparent taunt of Caitlin Clark
Clark and Reese combined to create the iconic image of last year’s March Madness 
Image:
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She continued: “Being able to be proud of this team, I’m not going to give them [South Carolina] all the credit because I know how hard we played. We played hard, we played tough, we did whatever it took to win, and sadly, we came up short, but I’m happy where we are right now, and anybody seeing us moving forward should be scared.”

Unlike anyone on this LSU team, Clark has beaten the Gamecocks before. In the Final Four, no less, to reach the first national championship game in program history a year ago.

“We know how long and how hard it is to get to the Final Four,” Clark said after winning the Big Ten title game in overtime against Nebraska, “but how much fun it is, at the same time. So I think having that experience under our belt is going to certainly help us.”

She added: “I think our group knows well enough that the NCAA Tournament is the best postseason tournament in all of sports. If you don’t have it for one night, your season’s over in the blink of an eye.

“We’re really only guaranteed one more game as a team, so you’ve got to come in and prepare every single day like it’s your last. I know this team will do that.”

She concluded: “It never gets old cutting any net. I feel like we’re pretty good at that now. Hopefully, we get to do it a few more times here coming up in late March.”

 

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