Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese set record straight on relationship: LSU star says ‘we’re not friends’ during game

The players share a mutual respect and competitive edge that’s not changing any time soon.

ALBANY, N.Y. —  Before Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark set foot on the court Monday, they want to set the record straight.

Neither holds any grudge or holds any animosity toward the other. And there will be trash talk as LSU and Iowa meet in the Albany 2 Elite Eight.

“Me and Caitlin Clark don’t hate each other. I want everybody to understand that. It’s just a super competitive game,” Reese said Sunday. “Once I get between those lines, there’s no friends.


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I have plenty of friends on the court that I talk to outside of the game, but like when I get between those lines, we’re not friends.

We’re not buddies. I’m going to talk trash to you. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get in your head the whole entire game, but after the game we can kick it.”

Clark agrees: “Me and Angel have always been great competitors.

Obviously she played in the Big Ten for a while to begin her career, and that’s what makes women’s basketball so fun is you have great competition, and that’s what we’ve had all year long. I think Angel would say the same.”

The two maintain respect for one another, and they will play their game the exact same way they always do — with passion. Whether they are trying to get into their opponents head or hype up their teammates and the crowd, Reese and Clark are going to get loud.

And that’s what we should want.

“I turn on ballgames all the time,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. “Was it Luka Doncic the other day waved bye to [former Kings general manager Vlade Divac] because he didn’t draft him? You see that all the time.”

Mulkey also said one of her fondest memories was watching the 1984 U.S. men’s basketball team compete against top men’s pro players.

Mulkey recounted sitting courtside mesmerized as the men competed — and yes, talked trash and fired curse words, insults and more.


“The crap that came out of those guys’ mouths, I couldn’t quit watching. It’s sports,” Mulkey said.

“I don’t choose to focus on that because you see it all the time if you turn on and watch pro games. I was a trash talker. I mean, thank God I didn’t have all of y’all following me, cameras and everything else.”

If anything, Reese and Clark both find the assumptions made about what is said between the lines baffling. Earlier during the Albany region, Clark set the record straight on the alleged beef she had with, of all people, her own father.

“The first thing is I was never talking to my dad,” Clark said Friday. “I don’t know why people thought that. My dad is my biggest supporter. He’s literally my best friend and he was my first-ever basketball coach and somebody that has always been there.”

While Clark has learned over the years that eyes will constantly be on her, she has no intention of changing her approach to the game.

If you want to fight a decency war, perhaps inquire about Draymond Green’s numerous over-the-top antics or Brad Marchand licking opponents’ faces on the ice. As for women’s basketball, LSU and Iowa players aren’t changing their game to pander to social media.

“It’s our personalities. It’s what makes the game fun for us,” LSU guard Hailey Van Lith said.

“I think a lot of times people make assumptions, and they don’t really know what we’re saying and they don’t really know the backstory or anything leading up to it. That’s nothing that we can control … but that doesn’t mean we’re going to change.”

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Van Lith, Reese and Clark also know at the end of the day they are entertainers. Some aspects of trash talk are insular to the players between the lines, and there is a part of it that panders to the entertainment value of the game. While that does open the players up to criticism, it’s not something Van Lith is losing sleep over.

“You can choose to focus on the people that say bad things about it, but at the end of the day, they’re talking online for a reason,” Van Lith said. ” … They would never be in that situation to begin with because they’re too busy commenting on other people’s lives.”



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