Caitlin Clarke defends Angel Rhys, saying she should not be “slammed” for the gesture directed at her

(CNN) LSU’s Angel Reese She should not be “criticized” for the gesture you made at her.

Towards the end of LSU’s victory over Iowa State in the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship game on Sunday, Reese can be seen getting close Clark before moving her open hand in front of her face – rumored by WWE superstar John Cena to mean “You can’t see me” – before pointing bell A finger in a gesture that some have interpreted as a reference to where your newly acquired championship ring might sit.

Clark made a similar gesture to another player earlier in the tournament.

This gesture sparked a lot of controversy, especially on social media. Some criticized Reese, while others defended her actions, highlighting the lack of public outrage in response to Clark’s gesture earlier in the tournament.



Reese makes a nod toward Clark.

In the press conference after claiming LSU’s first NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Reese noted the difference in the reaction she received as a result of her gesture compared to the one Clark received.

Clark, who had 30 points in the national championship game, said trash talking is part of basketball.

“I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all,” Clark said in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday. “I’m just one that competes, and I compete. I think everyone knew there was going to be a little bit of trash talk the whole 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, amazing player. I have nothing but respect for her. I love her game – the way she bounces the ball and scores the ball, absolutely incredible. I’m a huge fan And even the whole LSU team. They had a great game.”

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She added, “Guys have always been trash talk… You have to be able to play with that emotion… That’s how every girl should keep playing.”



Clark made a similar “you can’t see me” gesture earlier in the NCAA tournament.

Clarke also echoed what she said in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s game, saying she didn’t see Reese’s gesture at the time.

“I haven’t been on social media much since we lost,” Clark said. “But I think the biggest thing is that it was a competitive, super, super fun game. That’s what’s going to attract more people to our game. I think the viewership speaks for itself.

“I’m lucky enough to be playing this game and have an emotion and wear it on my sleeve, and so does everyone else. So this should never be demolished. This should never be criticized because I think that’s what makes this a very interesting game. It’s what draws people to this game.” The game. This is how I will continue to play. This is how every girl should continue to play.”

Criticism about a double invitation from the White House

Clark’s comments come a day after First Lady Jill Biden appeared to backtrack on suggestions that the White House might invite LSU and Iowa women’s basketball teams.

Speaking Monday, Biden congratulated both teams on their performance in Sunday’s national championship game, as well as highlighting the sportsmanship in Iowa specifically.

It is customary for the national champions to be invited to the White House, but not the runners-up. Reese tweeted a link to the story that included Biden’s comments, calling it a “joke” along with three emojis rolling on the floor laughing.

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Commenting on an Instagram post from “The Shade Room” that included Reese’s tweet, the recently crowned NCAA champion said, “We’re not coming. Period.”

First Lady Press Secretary Vanessa Valdivia sought clarification for Biden’s comments on Tuesday, saying in a tweet that “were meant to pay tribute to the historic match and all the math of the house.”

Clark, the Hawkeyes’ junior guard, took credit for the matter, saying she thought LSU should celebrate its moment in the sun alone.



Clark hits the ball against Reese during the fourth quarter of the championship game.

“I don’t think runners-up usually go to the White House. I think LSU should enjoy this moment for them, and I congratulate them, they obviously deserve to go there. Maybe, I could go to the White House on different terms though,” Clark said.

“This is for LSU. It’s a pretty cool moment and they should be enjoying every second of being a champion.”

Iowa coach Lisa Bluder agreed with Clarke’s ideas. “I gratefully acknowledge the feelings of the First Lady, but today in the White House should belong only to the champ, LSU and Coach Mulkey,” Bluder chirp.

“The First Lady and the President are welcome to come to Ewa’s ‘home’ – Carver Hawke Arena – anytime!”

On Tuesday, Clarke took home another award for her record-breaking season — the 2023 John Wooden Award for Most Valuable Player in women’s college basketball.

Both Clark and Reese had great individual seasons, and through their unique skills and personalities, helped take college women’s basketball to a whole different level.

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After the National Championships on Sunday, Reese admitted that she had developed the game; Clark’s sentiments were echoed.

“Honestly it’s probably too hard for me to turn my head around [the last season]Clark said. “It probably takes a few weeks to reflect on the whole year. The past month overall has been a bit of a wild whirlwind, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.

“I just want to inspire young boys and girls to be able to dream and do the same things that I did. I was just that little girl. I looked up to WNBA players, NBA players, college athletes, even other professional sports athletes. All you have to do is dream and work hard.” And to be surrounded by really good people who also believe in you.”

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