Angel Reese Says She’s Been ‘Attacked So Many Times’ Since Winning 2023 NCAA Title

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LSU Tiger power forward Angel Reese held the tears back—until after the game. Having suffered a loss (94-87) in the Elite Eight against Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes, a tearful Reese reflected back during the post-game press conference on the rocky year she and her team experienced on the road to the NCAA finals this year.

Sharing details about what she has had to endure since taking the 2023 NCAA title, she said, “I’ve been through so much. I’ve seen so much. 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. 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 … I’m still a human.”

Reese added that she hasn’t had peace since winning last year’s title— but still “wouldn’t change anything. “I would still sit here and say, ‘I’m unapologetically me.’ I’m going to always leave that mark and be who I am and stand on that.”

At last year’s title matchup, Reese approached Caitlin Clark and made a “you can’t see me” gesture, made famous by WWE star John Cena, before pointing to her finger in an apparent reference to her soon-to-be-acquired championship ring.

Long after what turned out to be the most-watched women’s college basketball game in history, that moment defined the championship, the moment became one of the most talked about, both after the game and once again ahead of Monday’s rematch.

Throughout, Reese had said that she had been cast in the “villain role” up against Clark, a fact which has been echoed by the press in the days leading up to the game. During her postgame news conference following LSU's 78-69 victory over UCLA, LSU Coach Kim Mulkey was asked about her team embracing an "us against the world mentality" and whether she has told her players to "enjoy having the black hat on."

In response, Mulkey said she was sent Friday's column in the Los Angeles Times that described her team as "dirty debutantes" and “Louisiana hot sauce,” while UCLA was "milk and cookies." In addition, the column portrayed the matchup as "inclusive versus divisive."

The Los Angeles Times has since removed some of the language, including its reference to "dirty debutantes." Later Saturday, added a statement that "it did not meet Times editorial standards."

"I'm not going to let sexism continue," Mulkey said, per ESPN. "And if you don't think that's sexism, then you're in denial. How dare people attack kids like that. You don't have to like the way we play. You don't have to like the way we trash-talk. You don't have to like any of that. We're good with that.

"But I can't sit up here as a mother and a grandmother and a leader of young people and allow somebody to say that. Because guys, that's wrong. I know sexism when I see it and I read it. That was awful."

(Editor’s Note: The author of this story was formerly employed by the Los Angeles Times.)

Still, after the tumult of Monday’s game, it’s unclear whether Reese will return to LSU or declare for this month’s WNBA draft, for which she is a projected first-round pick.

In her post-game press conference, Reese ended her comments on a positive note, “The little girls that look up to me, hopefully, I give them some type of inspiration … Keep being who you are.”

Related: Angel Reese on Double Standards, Making History and the Future of Women's Basketball

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue