Angel Reese barely had time to celebrate LSU’s historic first national championship before she had to fight back Twitter’s reaction to her taunting of Iowa star Caitlin Clark.
As the seconds ticked down to LSU’s eventual 102-85 win over Iowa, Reese — the one with 15 points and 10 rebounds with an NCAA-record 34 — became her own ring finger.
Angel Reese beat Caitlin Clark with the John Cena celebration ????pic.twitter.com/BO32fmpg8Q
– The Sports News (@sportingnews) April 2, 2023
Reese taunted Clark, who hit Louisville with the “You Can’t See Me” earlier in the tournament.
Caitlin Clark slammed “YOU CAN’T SEE ME”. ????
– WSLAM (@wslam) March 27, 2023
But some didn’t take Reese’s taunt well, sparking a firestorm on Twitter, with some calling the move “classless.”
MORE: Angel Reese taunts Caitlin Clark with ‘You Can’t See Me’ taunt as LSU tees off Iowa: ‘I don’t take disrespect lightly’
Immediately after the game, Reese said she was “waiting” to throw Clark’s move back when the Clark had gestured at Alexis Morris earlier in the game.
Angel Reese opens up about the “you can’t see me” gesture she gave to Caitlin Clark.
“I have waited…” pic.twitter.com/if51kO5m1B
— Terrible announcement (@awfulannouncing) April 2, 2023
Reese was also ready for criticism from social media, fighting back “the narrative” she didn’t fit into.
“All year I’ve been criticized for who I am,” Reese said. “The narrative, I don’t fit into the narrative, I don’t fit into the box you want me to be in. I’m with Hood, I’m with Ghetto, you’ve been telling me that all year. But if other people do it, you don’t say anything,” Reese said. “So this is for the girls who look like me who talk about what they believe in.
It’s unapologetic you. And that’s what I did tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. It was bigger. Twitter gets angry every time and, I mean, I’m happy. I feel like I’ve contributed to the growth of women’s basketball this year.
This is nothing new for Reese either. The Baltimore native has resisted “the narrative” for some time. In January, she first referred to being “too hood” and “too ghetto” in a Twitter post. She also urged the media to normalize and celebrate women who show passion for the game, rather than labeling them “embarrassing.”
“I’m too hooded”. “I’m too ghetto”. I don’t fit into the narrative and I’m fine with that. I’m from Baltimore where you hop outside and talk trash If it were a boy, you wouldn’t say nun at all. Let’s normalize women showing passion for the game instead of ’embarrassing’ it. ????
— Angel Reese (@Reese10Angel) January 20, 2023
The LSU star also criticized the notion that when other players like Clark make similar mocking gestures, it’s either ignored or celebrated.
Reese feels that being criticized is a double standard.
MORE: Iowa vs. LSU final scores: Tigers set championship record en route to first national title
Reese ended her press conference by saying that she doesn’t care what Twitter thinks and that she won’t change her “authentic self” for people she doesn’t care about.
“I don’t care about other people and what they say about me, and that’s the difference between me and a lot of people. I don’t,” Reese said. “Anyway, I’ll be me, but I can’t do it without the girls here, and I can’t do it without the rest of my teammates and coaches.
“Twitter can say what they want to say. I love Twitter and I love reading these comments. I have all the screenshots of what everyone has been saying about me throughout the season. And now, what are you going to say now?”
Reese fanned the flames a little more and took to Twitter to address the taunt.
— Angel Reese (@Reese10Angel) April 3, 2023
MORE: Dawn Staley calls out media on narrative on South Carolina’s playing style: ‘We’re not barfighters’
For what it’s worth, Clark said she was unaware of Reese’s celebration and only wanted to spend time with her team in the moments immediately following the Hawkeyes’ loss:
“Honestly, I had no idea,” Clark said. “I was just trying to get to the handshake line and shake hands. Be thankful that my team was in this position. That’s all you can do is hold your head high and be proud of what you’ve done. All the credit in the world for LSU. They were tremendous.”
If Clark didn’t see it the first time, she clearly saw it now. However, given the photo evidence, it’s pretty hard to believe the Iowa star didn’t see it.
Clark added after the game:
Thank you to everyone who supported us on this magical run…I feel lucky to have Iowa on my chest and represent our state ????????????
— Caitlin Clark (@CaitlinClark22) April 3, 2023
Regardless, this isn’t the first time a star player or coach has been forced to address racially informed narratives: South Carolina coach Dawn Staley made a similar remark after her team’s Final Four loss to Iowa on Friday, saying their players weren’t. Thugs,” “monkeys,” “street fighters,” or “bar fighters” — the latter echoed a comment Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said about her team.
The Gamecocks coach said she knew what media outlets were saying about her team and how it was, something she said didn’t belong in the game:
“Just watch what you say about our team because it’s wrong. They have young lives that really — if you really knew them, if you really knew them, like you really want to know other players who represent this game, think differently,” Staley said. “So don’t judge us the color of our skin. Judge us by how we approach the game.”
It’s an unfortunate fact at this 2023 NCAA women’s tournament that has seen an unprecedented growth in interest in the sport.
Regardless, Reese appears to have had the last word in the controversy for the 2022-23 season, much like how LSU had the final say in the 2023 national championship.
Or maybe this is:
I LOVE BEING A BLACK QUEEN.????
— Angel Reese (@Reese10Angel) April 3, 2023