(CNN) Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has said that LSU angel reese she shouldn’t be “criticized” for the gesture she directed at him.
Near the end of LSU’s victory over Iowa in the NCAA women’s basketball national championship game on Sunday, Reese could be seen approaching clark before waving his open hand in front of his face, popularized by WWE star John Cena to say “can’t you see me”, before pointing at it ring finger in a gesture that some interpreted as a reference to where his newly acquired championship ring might be.
Clark made a similar gesture to another player earlier in the tournament.
The gesture generated much debate, especially on social media. Some criticized Reese, while others defended her actions, noting that there was no public outrage in response to Clark’s gesture at the start of the tournament.
In the press conference after claiming LSU’s first NCAA women’s basketball national championship, Reese referenced the difference in reaction she received as a result of her gesture compared to the one Clark received.
Clark, who scored 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 ESPN interview Tuesday. “I’m just one who competes, and she competed. I think everyone knew there was going to be a little trash talk going on throughout the tournament. It’s not just me and Angel.”
“We are all competitive. We all show our emotions in a different way. Angel is a tremendous, tremendous player. I have nothing but respect for her. I love her game, the way she bounces the ball, scores the ball, she is absolutely amazing. I’m a huge fan of hers and even the whole LSU team. They played an amazing game.”
She added: “Men have always talked bad… You should be able to play with that emotion… That’s how all girls should keep playing.”
Clark also echoed what he said immediately after Sunday’s game, saying he didn’t see the gesture Reese made at the time.
“I haven’t been on social media much since we lost,” Clark said. “But I think the most important thing is that it was a competitive game, super, super fun. That’s what will bring more people to our game. I think the audience speaks for itself.”
“I’m just lucky to be able to play this game and have emotion and wear it on my sleeve, just like everyone else. So that should never be shot down. That should never be criticized because I think that’s what makes this game be a success.” game so fun. That’s what draws people to this game. This is how I will continue to play. This is how all girls should continue to play.”
Criticism of the double invitation to the White House
Clark’s comments come a day after first lady Jill Biden appeared to reject suggestions that the White House could invite both the 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 specifically noting Iowa’s sportsmanship.
It is traditional 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 laughing emojis rolling across the floor.
In a comment on an Instagram post from ‘The Shade Room’ that included Reese’s tweet, the recently crowned NCAA champion said: “WE DID NOT MAKE IT. Period.”
The first lady’s press secretary, Vanessa Valdivia, tried to clarify Biden’s comments Tuesday, saying in a tweet that they were “intended to applaud the historic game and all the female athletes.” Home.”
Hawkeyes junior guard Clark weighed in on the matter, saying he believed LSU should celebrate its moment in the sun alone.
“I don’t think runners-up usually go to the White House. I think LSU should enjoy that moment for them and congratulations, obviously, they deserve to go there. Maybe, they could go to the White House on different terms, though,” Clark said. .
“That’s for LSU. It’s a great time and they should enjoy every second of being champions.”
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder agreed with Clark’s thoughts. “I gratefully acknowledge the First Lady’s sentiments, but a day in the White House should belong solely to the champion, LSU and Coach Mulkey,” Bluder tweeted.
“We would welcome the First Lady and the President to come to Iowa’s ‘Home,’ Carver Hawkeye Arena, at any time.”
On Tuesday, Clark won another award for her record-breaking season: the 2023 John Wooden Award for Most Outstanding Player in Women’s College Basketball.
Clark and Reese had outstanding individual seasons and, through their own unique skills and personalities, helped take women’s college basketball to a whole new level.
After Sunday’s national championship, Reese acknowledged that she has grown in the game; a sentiment Clark echoed.
“Honestly, it’s probably pretty hard for me to understand (last season),” Clark said. “It’ll probably take me a few weeks to reflect on the whole year. Just the last month in general has been kind of a wild whirlwind, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.”
“I just want to inspire young boys and girls to dream and do the same things that I’ve done. I was just that kid. I looked up to WNBA players, NBA players, college athletes, even other professional sports”. athletes. All you have to do is dream, work very hard and be surrounded by very, very good people who also believe in you.”