Sports enthusiasts have a deep appreciation for rivalries, and sometimes, these rivalries are deliberately created.
In the realm of American sports, few player rivalries this year have garnered as much attention as the feud between LSU forward Angel Reese and Iowa guard Caitlin Clark.
The story dates back to April 2, when Reese led the Tigers to a resounding 102–85 victory over the Hawkeyes in the national championship game in Dallas. As the clock ticked down, Reese added emphasis to her impressive 15-point, 10-rebound performance by gesturing toward her ring finger, a gesture that elicited both acclaim and criticism nationwide.
Despite the fallout from that gesture, Reese sought to downplay any lingering tension between herself and Clark during LSU’s media day on Thursday.
“I love Caitlin; we’ve been competing since we were in AAU,” Reese told reporters. “It was always fun, always competitive. One day, hopefully, we could even be teammates. She is a great player, shooter, person and teammate.”
Reese conveyed that the perception of competition between her and Clark underscores the pivotal roles they have both played in expanding the viewership of women’s basketball.
“The world is always going to have a good girl and a bad girl. I’ll take that I’m going to be the bad guy because I know I’ve grown women’s basketball and inspired people,” Reese said.
Both players are set to return for the 2024 season, although there is currently no regular-season matchup scheduled between LSU and Iowa.