What LSU’s Angel Reese said about teaming up with USC’s Kamilla Cardoso in WNBA

Just over a month ago, South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso and LSU’s Angel Reese were going at it in the post during the 2024 SEC women’s basketball championship game.

Reese drew criticism that afternoon for grabbing a fistful of Cardoso’s hair in the paint, and throwing an elbow toward her that resulted in an offensive foul in a game that later featured an on-court skirmish — and stood her ground afterward, emphasizing postgame the Tigers “weren’t afraid” of the Gamecocks.

And now those two are ... WNBA teammates? They sure are.

The entertaining (and formidable) pairing of the SEC’s reigning player of the year and defensive player of the year came to fruition Monday night as the Chicago Sky selected Cardoso No. 3 overall and Reese No. 7 overall in the first round of the 2024 WNBA Draft in New York City.

But only a couple weeks after engaging in a memorable back-and-forth in the SEC title game for two loaded teams who weren’t exactly friendly conference rivals, both Cardoso and Reese expressed excitement about joining each other in Chicago.

“I’ve known her since high school, and we battle,” Reese said in a news conference. “And now being teammates is going to be amazing. I actually talked to her earlier, was congratulating her. I know she just came off an amazing run, an amazing college career, so I’m looking forward to playing with her in practice. And then in games, just bouncing off each other. So I’m excited.”

Cardoso agreed.

“I think it’s going to be great,” she said of Reese. “She’s a great player. I’m a great player. So two great players together. Nobody is going to get no rebounds on us.”

Cardoso, a 6-foot-7 center, averaged a career-high 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Gamecocks, who went 38-0 and won the 2024 national championship with a win over Iowa two Sundays ago. Reese, a 6-3 forward, had an excellent season in her own right, putting up 18.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game for an LSU team that reached the Elite Eight.

Reese was also the Most Outstanding Player for the LSU team that won the 2023 national championship over Iowa. Had the Tigers advanced out of their regional, they could have matched up with USC in the national championship game in Cleveland.

Before battling in the 2024 SEC championship (a 79-72 South Carolina win in which Cardoso was ejected for her role in a late-game skirmish and multiple players on both benches were also ejected), USC and LSU played another instant classic this past January.

The Gamecocks and coach Dawn Staley trailed by as many as 11 points on the road before rallying for a 76-70 win over coach Kim Mulkey’s Tigers in Baton Rouge.

Reese fouled out of that game and said in a later post on social media the loss was “on me.” She added more fuel to the fire and her rivalry with Cardoso when she told ESPN in a late January interview (which was part of an extensive feature story on her and did not publish until March) that the game had been “on my calendar.”

“Because when somebody tells me that they think that somebody else is better than me, and supposedly Kamilla was supposed to just dog walk me all night, and mop me with the floor, and all this stuff,” Reese told ESPN’s Katie Barnes. “So I had posted because we were the only team that has held them (South Carolina) to what? We lost by six. Us being able to do that on our home court was something.”

On Monday night in New York City, though, there were no lingering hard feelings to be found as Reese and Cardoso both raved about each other and their future in the WNBA.

“I’m happy,” Cardoso said of the duo. “I’m really excited. She’s a great player. I’m a great player. I think we’re going to do great things together.”

Reese added that it’ll be “cool to see” her and Cardoso match up against former Stanford forward Cameron Brink and former Tennessee forward Rickea Jackson, both of whom were selected in the first round by the Los Angeles Sparks.

“That’s going to be fun,” Reese said.