'Taunting' Controversy Erupts After Incident in Final Seconds of Women's National Championship Game
LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese led her team to a championship April 2 — but drew a lot of criticism along the way.
The Tigers walloped Iowa 102-85 in the NCAA Tournament final at American Airlines Center in Dallas as Reese scored 15 points and emerged with the Most Outstanding Player award for the tournament, according to ESPN.
As the clock was winding down, she motioned toward Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, mocking Clark with wrestling star John Cena’s “You can’t see me” hand motion.
ANGEL REESE TO CAITLIN CLARK 😳 pic.twitter.com/2NY0CEzwJ3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 2, 2023
Clark, who was the star of the tournament heading into the championship game, had made the same gesture during the Hawkeyes’ Elite Eight victory over Louisville.
Reese, however, went a bit further, pursuing her opponent around the court to make sure Clark saw it.
She also pointed to her right-hand ring finger to indicate that she, not Clark, would be wearing a national championship ring.
Imagine your program being about this.. pic.twitter.com/YXAn2ruonX
— Fran Stan (@cheddaboy2345) April 2, 2023
“Caitlin Clark is a hell of a player, for sure. But … I was in my bag. I was in my moment,” Reese said after the game.
Clark let it all ride when she spoke after the game.
“I was just trying to get to the handshake line and shake hands and be grateful that my team was in that position. … All the credit in the world to LSU. They were tremendous. They deserve it. They had a tremendous season,” she said.
“I was just trying to spend the last few moments on the court with especially the five people that I’ve started 93 games with and relishing every second of that,” Clark said.
The Twittersphere was less forgiving.
“The dudes might fight over taunting like this,” Clay Travis wrote.
“This is classless,” wrote one poster. Another raked Reese over the coals, writing, “I have totally lost respect for her. It wasn’t enough to have just won the game but she had to make it personal and taunt other team.”
What a classless move by Angel Reese. Doing WAY too much to taunt Clark.
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) April 2, 2023
I don’t mind trash talk, but how is this not a technical? In men’s basketball, it’s 100% a T. And the dudes might fight over taunting like this. Plus, refs called a T on Clark for nothing earlier in the game to give her a fourth foul. Poor job by refs. pic.twitter.com/rd7WDfsbe7
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 2, 2023
Congratulations LSU over Iowa.But a great player Angel Reese taunted Caitlyn Clark for 13 seconds post game. I have totally lost respect for her. It wasn’t enough to have just won the game but she had to make it personal and taunt other team. This is what is wrong today. So sad. pic.twitter.com/yYUagF3dS7
— David Borowicz (@djborow) April 2, 2023
Angel Reese literally taunted Caitlin Clark for the last 5 minutes of the game with no technical foul. Classless. Once again, missed by the officials. Pathetic. #WFinalFour
— Justin (@ItsCoachiola) April 2, 2023
This is classless. Angel Reese is only 20, so she’s still young, but taunting Caitlin Clark like this shows a pure lack of class.
Win with class, lose with class, play with class.
Clark’s mom and dad can be proud that her daughter ignored the taunting. They raised her right. pic.twitter.com/HQyVFuyJIw
— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) April 2, 2023
If it wasn’t “classless” when Caitlin Clark did it, don’t call it classless when Angel Reese does it. Let the women compete, it’s sports!! pic.twitter.com/lJpS1NId68
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) April 2, 2023
This is how you do it. Got to be able to take it if you dish it. To the winner go the spoils, and the taunting. I don’t make the rules. pic.twitter.com/6sPigbC9Hu
— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) April 2, 2023
Reese made it clear that she did not care what anyone had to say.
“All year, I was critiqued about who I was. Nobody — the narrative, I don’t fit the narrative. I don’t fit in the box that y’all want me to be in. I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto. Y’all told me that all year. But when other people do it, y’all don’t say nothing,” she said.
“So this is for the girls that look like me, that’s gonna speak up for what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you. And that’s what I did it for tonight. This was for — it was bigger than me tonight. Twitter is going to go into a rage every time,” she said.
Reese indicated she was impressed with her performance during the year.
“I feel like I’ve helped grow women’s basketball this year. I’m super happy and excited,” she said.
“I don’t care about anybody else and what they have to say about me. That’s the difference between me and a lot of people. … I don’t care to be All-American. I don’t care to be a defensive player of the year, player of the year. The biggest goal is to be a national champion, and that’s what I did,” she said. “And that’s what I can just brag on.”
Reese added, “Twitter can say what Twitter can say. I love Twitter, and I love reading those comments. I have all the screenshots of what everybody has said about me all season. And now what are you going to say now?”
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