When the final buzzer sounded on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark’s drama was the main story of the day. Despite Reese and LSU playing a beautiful game on their way to a 102-85, many felt as though the trash talk from Reese had gone too far.
Following the game, First Lady Jill Biden (who was in attendance) said “I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House; we always do. So, we hope LSU will come. But, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come too because they played such a good game. Naturally, this did not sit well with many people. Especially Reese. In an Instagram response, she called the invite a “JOKE” and added three laughing emojis for good measure.
On April 4th’s The Undisputed on Fox Sports, NFL Hall Of Famer Shannon Sharpe along with co-host Skip Bayless said the First Lady “needs to sit down” with those kinds of comments. Never one to hesitate to throw the bottom card, Sharpe said “The people that won … look like me, and the people that lost look like [Biden], now we’re gonna invite the runner-up!” This analysis of how things went is spot on. While the race card isn’t usually wise to play, in this instance with the Biden’s, it’s perfectly fitting.
For what it’s worth, Clark has been doing her best to ensure Reese and LSU know that she and Iowa want no part of that trip. “That’s for LSU. They should enjoy every single second of being the champion. I think that’s theirs to do. I don’t think runner-ups usually go to the White House. LSU should enjoy that moment for them. And congratulations, obviously; they deserve to go there. Maybe I could go to the White House [someday] on different terms.”
She also came to Reese’s defense for the “Can’t see me” comments and ring finger pointing as LSU sewed up their victory.
“I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all. I’m just one that competes, and she competed. I think everybody knew there was going to be a little trash talk in the entire tournament. It’s not just me and Angel. We’re all competitive. We all show our emotions in a different way. You know, Angel is a tremendous, tremendous player. I have nothing but respect for her. I love her game — the way she rebounds the ball, scores the ball, is absolutely incredible. I’m a big fan of her and even the entire LSU team.”
Clark gave South Carolina the same treatment during their Final Four game. She kicked open the door for Reese’s response. The entire tournament up until the final had been the Caitlin Clark show, with her highlights dominating screens across the country. From mid-court three-point shots (that land) to her waiving off SC’s attempts to drain their three-pointers, this junior knew how to ensure she made it on ESPN.
Just like the NFL stars, these ladies have learned what generates interest and ratings. Their actions at the tournament might have left some people unhappy, but they offered more positivity for the game than it harmed. As it stands, the highlights from these games have been shown continuously across the country, and people are finding a good reason to watch the women’s games which traditionally sell substantially fewer tickets and draw in fewer viewers than the men’s games.
Seeing Clark coming to Reese’s defense is a great thing for women’s athletics. While Sharpe chose to go right for the race card, these ladies have left the trash-talking purely on the court, and the respect shown off of it between one another is a prime example of what right looks like.
With nobody wanting to go to the White House, many wonder what the Bidens are going to do. Some have suggested that LSU instead have a gathering with the Obamas. No matter where you stand, there is nothing worse than having someone turn down you honoring them, and instead asking your old boss from a decade ago to honor your accomplishments.