Iowa's Caitlin Clark defends LSU's Angel Reese amid criticism

Caitlin Clark weighs in on Angel Reese taunting controversy originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The one who was taunted by Angel Reese has come to the defense of the LSU standout.

Iowa Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Tuesday that Reese shouldn't be criticized "at all" for her controversial celebration following the 2023 women's national championship game.

"She should never be criticized for what she did," Clark said. "I'm just one that competes and she competed. I think everybody knew there was gonna be a little trash talk in the entire tournament, it's not just me and Angel.

"I don't think she should be criticized. LSU deserves it, they played so well, and I'm a big of hers."

The comments from Clark were retweeted by Reese.

After the Tigers defeated the Hawkeyes for their first national title on Sunday, Reese made a "you can't see me" gesture toward Clark before pointing to her ring finger.

Reese, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament, also made the "you can't see me" gesture at Clark while they were lined up for an LSU free throw attempt late in the game.

Reese's actions came after Clark did the same celebration as she was putting up a historic 41-point triple-double against Louisville in the Elite Eight.

Clark, however, didn't receive anywhere close to the kind of backlash Reese has faced. The AP National Player of the Year and Wooden Award winner believes the type of emotion that she and Reese showed on the court is how the game should be played.

"I'm just lucky enough that I get to play this game and have emotion and wear it on my sleeve, and so does everybody else," Clark said. "So that should never be torn down or criticized because I believe that's what makes this game so fun. That's what draws people to this game.

"You should be able to play with that emotion. Nobody wants to tune in and not see people be competitive and passionate about what they're doing. Across any sport, that's how it should be. That's how I'm gonna continue to play, that's how every girl should continue to play."