College Basketball

Angel Reese tears up after end to trying LSU season with future uncertain: ‘I’m still a human’

ALBANY — Angel Reese was determined to return, playing through a sprained ankle, in hopes of keeping LSU’s back-to-back title hopes alive.

When she fouled out with 1:45 remaining in the Elite Eight, Reese smiled as she hugged each of her teammates, uncertain if she would ever play with them again.

Angel Reese gets emotional after LSU’s Elite Eight loss to Iowa on Monday. Getty Images

In the aftermath of a 94-87 loss to Iowa, Reese wasn’t ready to announce whether her star-making, headline-stealing, championship-winning run at LSU was over.

“I’ll make a decision when I’m ready,” said Reese, a projected top-10 pick in the WNBA draft.

While Caitlin Clark hit 3 after 3 in her 41-point masterpiece, Reese dominated the paint, finishing with 17 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.

But Reese’s movement was visibly affected after her second-quarter injury, contributing to her 7-for-21 shooting from the field.

“I’m tough, so I tried to play through it,” Reese said. “This is something that has been going on for a little while now. But I played through it and I’m not going to make that excuse for the rest of my play for the game.”

Before the rematch of a national title game defined by trash talk, Reese declared herself happy to play the villain again.

But in the postgame press conference, Reese was brought to tears, unloading the weight of a year filled with magic and malice.

LSU forward Angel Reese (10) and LSU guard Flau’jae Johnson (4) talk as Reese leaves the court during the fourth quarter on Monday. AP

“I’ve been through so much,” Reese said. “I’ve seen so much. I’ve been attacked so many times, death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, so many things, and I’ve stood strong every single time. I just try to stand strong for my teammates because I don’t want them to see me down and not be there for them.

“I’m still a human. All this has happened since I won the national championship, and I said the other day I haven’t been happy since then. And it sucks, but I still wouldn’t change anything, and I would still sit here and say I’m unapologetically me.”

When Reese committed her fifth foul, she didn’t contest. It wasn’t going to change anything.

The Tigers were down by 10.

Angel Reese fouled out with 1:45 remaining in LSU’s loss to Iowa in the Elite Eight. AP

Last year, the moment was theirs.

This night belonged to their rival, who helped them elevate the sport.

“No matter which way it went, I knew this was going to be a night for the ages,” Reese said. “Just being able to be a part of history is great.”