Angel Reese, one of many excellent basketball players to transfer from Maryland in recent years, has settled in nicely in her first season at LSU. Her new team has floated toward the top of the national rankings, feasting on an SEC that is not particularly strong at the moment. (The competition is South Carolina and then everyone else.) No. 3 LSU's roster is younger than last year's and still trying to figure out how to play basketball together. While they work on that, the onus has been on Reese to do, well, basically everything. She vacuums up post entry passes of varying quality. She heaves up uncanny buzzer-beaters. Last night, with a 30-point and 19-rebound performance, she tied program legend Sylvia Fowles for most consecutive double-doubles at 19.
One moment from last night's improbably close win at home against Arkansas told the Angel Reese Story well: Here's a player who thrives even when she has to do some carrying. When Arkansas went on a late run to briefly take the lead, the camera showed Reese motivating her teammates with an "I can't do this by myself. I need help!" Her teammates could be forgiven for not believing her after what they'd seen in the third quarter. Reese's sneaker came off as she tried to help on defense. And you know what? She did it by herself. She needed no help. Shoe in one hand, she laid down a block with the other.
Basketball is all about sensing momentary weakness and taking advantage, and really you cannot blame this poor Arkansas player for thinking, Wow! The one person standing between me and the basket is literally bending down to put her shoe back on! Yes! This is my chance! even if you find her eventual plight funny. The refs took pity on our fallen Razorback; Reese got a technical foul for her post-block staredown. She tweeted afterward about the suspect way techs are doled out in women's basketball: "If it was a boy y’all wouldn’t be saying nun at all. Let’s normalize women showing passion for the game instead of it being 'embarrassing'." In any case, the foul should be rescinded on the grounds of "That was pretty cool."