BATON ROUGE, LA — Halftime for her team’s recent game against Tennessee. LSU’s Kim Her Malkey Her coach isn’t particularly thrilled with her best player performance, especially with her five-point lead on the team.
That player, Angel Reese, had four points and four rebounds in the first half. Woking, who pushed the Tigers to an undefeated record and No. 3 ranking, is far from a double-double (20-game streak).
“You should be the National Player of the Year,” Reese recalled Mulkey telling her sternly. “And it doesn’t look like it now.”
After Reese’s initial reaction to the criticism (“damn it”), when she posted another double-double (18 points, 17 rebounds) in LSU’s 76-68 win, the dominant player Malkey expected I emerged from the locker room where I was.
When Reese chose to leave Maryland last season, she was expected to have the biggest impact of any player on the transfer portal. Joining the season with nine ranked rookies, the LSU team helped prepare for Sunday’s must-see match against the defending national champions, No. 1 South Carolina. (2pm ET, ESPN).
This is the battle between the last two undefeated teams in college basketball and the second time in LSU history the teams have competed in a game between the top three teams. And in a showcase of his two most dominant teams in college basketball this season, it’s Reese who will emerge as the game’s biggest draw in the afternoon.
How quickly did Baton Rouge accept Reese in his first season at LSU? Driving around town, you might come across one of several billboards featuring Reese.
The images are beautiful and impressive. Baton Angel standing in front of her rouge skyline, outstretched arms stroking a basketball and a halo surrounding her head.
The words that accompany the image reflect the current state of the Baltimore-born player here at Baton Rouge, known as “Bayou Barbie.”
“City of Angels”.
Unless you’re an avid women’s basketball fan, chances are you haven’t heard of Reese until last month.
That changed on the night of January 19, when Reese registered a block heard around the world against Arkansas. That’s the night his teammate Frauje Johnson’s foot pulled Reese’s left foot out of his sneaker.
Reese expected the stoppage of play, so he tightened the laces, but it didn’t happen. Arkansas guard Samara Spencer said he was 5-foot-7 and driving down the lane he challenged Reese with a 6-3 record.
Reese held his shoe in his left hand and blocked the attempt with his right hand, shooting a death glare at the fallen guard.
The immediate result of that block and ensuing glare: an unsportsmanlike technical foul on Reese.
That play also landed Reese a starring role in a viral video that was widely accepted and criticized by others who didn’t like the block and stares that male players run away from every night.
“People don’t like it and think it’s not ladylike, but I’m honestly who I am and I’m going to be that every day,” Reese said in response to the criticism. Like men, I believe they should be able to be themselves without being judged.”
That viral video and Reese’s reaction paid off big.
According to the school, Reese’s social media impressions (the number of people who met her on Twitter) reached 110 million in the week following the video.that led to the explosion follow her instagramup from 110,000 before the block to 338,000 followers this week.
The growing number of followers has expanded Reese’s name, image and likeness opportunities. Reese’s brand has ranged from appearing with her teammates on posts promoting her nationwide fast food chain and batons her rouge lawyers to promoting fashion products. Reese partnered with the luxury fashion house to gift her Coach bags to her teammates last week.
“This has allowed her to meet people who can help her with her business and financial literacy.”For Angel, it’s more than collecting checks. brand and her future.”
Helping Reese live up to the expectations that have raised LSU, the first school since 2009 to rank in the top five.
Reese is the nation’s fifth-leading scorer (23.5 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (15.8), with LSU’s record for consecutive double-doubles (23) and SEC-record season-opening double-doubles. Establishing a record. She is the only player in Division I to have more than one of her 20-20 games, and her 28 rebounds against Texas A&M on January 5 set a school record.
“Angel was always the biggest player on the court and most coaches put her on the post and played with her back to the basket,” said LSU guard Kateripur. “Look at her now. She’s bringing the ball to the court and hitting her shot outside. The most important thing is that she’s a leader and if you see her on the court , you’ll find that she’s more of a coach than a player.”
It is Poole who gets credit for Reese’s move to LSU.
“She said she was going and said she wanted to play under a female coach who would push her,” Poole said. “I said to her, ‘I’m visiting LSU, would she like to come with me?'”
“It’s great to come to a school where they love women’s basketball and respect it as much as the boys. .”
— Angel Reese on Transferring from Maryland to LSU
Mulkey called Reese when he hit the portal, but when he tried to recruit the No. 2 national high school player to Baylor after an All-American career at Baltimore’s St. I didn’t think I hit a shot based on that conversation.
“I wasn’t ready at the time,” Reese said. “I was afraid to leave the house.”
When Reese decided to move, she wasn’t ready to partner with Marquee last year because there were only two teams on her list, South Carolina and Tennessee. But she accepted Poole’s invitation, went to Baton Her Rouge, and was persuaded to transfer to LSU, she canceled her other visits, but she did eat crayfish and oysters while cooking at Malkey’s house. I was eating
“I planned what I wanted to do. She planned for the next two to three years,” Reese said. “I needed a coach as much as she needed me. So it was just perfect.”
Also a factor for Reese was her support of women’s basketball at LSU, which drew 15,157 fans to the Tennessee game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. This is the biggest crowd at the arena since the 2005 reconstruction.
In Maryland, where Reese played her first two seasons, the world’s eighth-ranked women’s team has far fewer attendances than the unranked men’s team. point out the difference.
“I never thought my students would go into a women’s basketball game the way they should,” said Reese, who witnessed his brother Julian Reese play for the men’s team firsthand. “I felt the women’s team was the best team in Maryland. When her mom came out to my game, she could sit wherever she wanted.”
Fans will have a hard time securing seats at LSU this season as the women’s team is pulling ahead of the men.
“It’s great to come to a school that loves women’s basketball and respects it as much as the boys,” Reese said. “To get it, you have to win. Coach Malkey came in with all these freshmen, freshmen and transfers, and we won. When you win, you get everyone’s attention.” ”
Sometimes you’ll be surprised by whose attention you’re getting.
Challenged by his coaches at halftime after a struggling first half against Tennessee on January 30, Reese dribbled down the court at the top of the key, sticking the ball out of Lady Vols guard Lykia Jackson. bottom. fouled when she extended her layup.
After making the shot, Reese licked his fingers as his teammate approached. After a while she started her TikTok dance.
This is another viral moment that reached millions, including 16-year-old Ta’keyla Williamson from Blevins, Arkansas. Three nights later, Williamson posted a video in which she licked her fingers after being fouled by a basket she made and fell to her floor while converting her layup. After hitting her own TikTok move.
Williamson posted the clip and addressed it to Reese with the hashtag #AngelReese INSPIRED.
“She’s an inspiration because a lot of women can’t talk on the court the way they want to,” said Williamson, a junior guard at Blevins High School who discovered Reese after the video went viral. “It’s a game for girls to put their hands down like they were too little, and I got the tech. The referee said it wasn’t good sportsmanship, but men do it all the time.” ”
Reese retweeted Williamson’s post.
For Reese, the reaction was important. I wanted to support players who seemed to be enthusiastic about expression because they were girls.
Reese learned firsthand what it feels like to be negatively targeted in high school, as her style of play led to a dissenting high school coach slamming her on social media.
Reese also knows how impactful meeting a basketball star can be. Tweet a photo from 2011 Her with former LSU and WNBA star Seimone Augustus.
Augustus said, “I was always proud to sign autographs or take pictures with everyone I met.” and how much it meant to her. I am glad that you are here.
The day after his win over Tennessee, Reese had just finished a massage and is having a moment of reflection in the assembly center room just off the court.
She said the decision to move to Baton Rouge from Maryland was difficult.
“Baltimore is home. I was able to make history in Maryland. It was comforting to know my mom and grandparents would always come to my games,” Reese said. “The breakup was scary. The steps I took were ones I never thought I’d be able to take.”
However, LSU accepted her. So did Baton her rouge, and she was barely given the keys to the city.
That’s going to be the most important factor in an undefeated Top 5 team.
“It’s a horrible move, but it was the best move I’ve ever had,” Reese said. “They are like family and at the end of the game they show the same love that my family does.
“I am incredibly happy.”
On Sunday, Reese steps into the biggest spotlight of her athletic life, currently having the longest winning streak in women’s college basketball (30 games) in a road game against a 24-0 South Carolina team. I’m here. It’s Division I’s final college basketball game between her two undefeated teams on Super Bowl Sunday.
“It’s going to be great for women’s basketball,” Reese said. “It’s not Angel Reese vs. Aaliyah Boston, it’s South Carolina vs. LSU. I can.”