Angel Reese breaks down in tears as LSU teammates Flau’Jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith fiercely defend her after Iowa defeat

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Angel Reese and LSU’s dreams of capturing a second straight national championship came to an emotional end on Monday night.

In a rematch of last season’s title game, the No.3 Tigers were dumped out of this year’s NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight at the hands of the top-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes and Caitlin Clark who claimed a 94-87 victory.

Reese and LSU failed to defend their national title

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Reese and LSU failed to defend their national titleCredit: Getty

Reese did her bit, finishing with a 17-point, 20-rebound double-double, before fouling out of the game with 1:45 left.

The 21-year-old senior has faced intense media scrutiny since winning a national title last year and her uncompromising on-court persona has divided fans.

Reese still has the support of her teammates though, with Flau’Jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith speaking out in her defence after the Iowa defeat.

“Everybody can have their opinion on Angel Reese, but y’all don’t know her. Y’all don’t know Angel Reese. I know Angel Reese,” Johnson said.

As Johnson spoke at the post-game press conference, a visibly emotional Reese, who was sitting next to her, could be seen wiping tears away.

“I know the real Angel Reese and the person I see every day is a strong person,” Johnson went on.

“[She’s] a caring, loving person. The crown she wears is heavy. She’s the type of teammate that’s going to make you believe in yourself.

“The leap that I took from my freshman to my sophomore year, Angel gave me that confidence to go be a dog. Playing next to a dog every day. And just to see how the media ridicules her, this is my sister here and I’m so proud of her. How they like to twist it and call her the villain, y’all don’t know Angel… She just makes me a better player, and that’s what great players do.”

Johnson defender her superstar teammate

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Johnson defender her superstar teammateCredit: Getty
Reese has faced intense media scrutiny and her emotions got the best of her

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Reese has faced intense media scrutiny and her emotions got the best of herCredit: Getty

Van Lith echoed Johnson’s words and fiercely defended Reese.

“Angel’s one of the toughest people I’ve been around,” Van Lith said.

LSU star Angel Reese waves goodbye after fouling out MTSU player Anastasiia Boldyreva

“People speak hate into her life, I’ve never seen people wish bad things on someone as much as her. And it does not affect her. She comes to practice every day, she lives her life every day, she lives how she wants to live. And she don’t let nobody change that. And that’s the key to life right there.

“Y’all do not get to her. Let me say it again: Y’all do not get to Angel Reese, so you might want to give it up. Throw the towel in. Because you’re wasting your energy. Angel is one of the toughest people I’ve been around.”

Reese also spoke out and and claimed she had received death threats since gaining national recognition.

“I’ve been attacked so many times, death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been so many things, and I’ve stood strong every single time,” Reese said.

“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. All this has happened since I won the national championship. It sucks, but I still wouldn’t change.

“The little girls that look up to me, hopefully I give them some type of inspiration — keep waking up every day, keep being motivated, staying who you are, stand 10 toes, don’t back down, and just be confident.”

Reese now has a big decision to make.

She has the option to use her COVID eligibility extension to return to LSU for a fifth season next year, or she can declare for this year’s WNBA Draft.

Per draft rules, she has until 48 hours after the conclusion of her final game to declare for this year’s draft, which gives her a deadline of about 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday night. 

However, Reese said she is yet to make her decision.

‘ll make a decision when I’m ready,” she said after Monday’s defeat.


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