Shaq praises Angel Reese for avoiding confrontation in LSU-South Carolina melee: ‘She did the right thing’

Gamecocks’ Kamilla Cardoso suspended for the first game of the NCAA Tournament.

The LSU women’s basketball team defeated the Caitlin Clark-led Iowa Hawkeyes in last season’s national championship game. The South Carolina Gamecocks won the national title in 2022.

On Sunday, LSU and South Carolina met in the SEC Tournament championship. The Gamecocks won their ninth consecutive SEC title, but the game was marred by an altercation.

Multiple players were ejected following the melee.

Angel Reese leaves basketball court

On Monday, the conference confirmed Gamecocks center Kamilla Cardoso will not be eligible to play in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. LSU star Angel Reese, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, notably steered clear of the scuffle.

On Monday, Reese took to social media to explain her decision to “walk away.”

“As a person at my STATUS, sometimes you have to walk away from certain situations,” Reese wrote on X, formerly Twitter. She explained she was also dealing with an injury at the time the fight broke out.

Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who Reese has described as a mentor, revealed he reached out to the LSU star and praised her for avoiding the dust-up.

“I see she’s taking a lot of flak, ‘Oh, she should have been there,’” O’Neal told USA Today.

The four-time NBA champion also argued Reese’s primary concern should always be fighting to help her team win games.

“This is not fighting. The only thing you have to fight for is to fight for your team,” O’Neal said. “The game was played closely. Things like that — you don’t want them to happen. When they do happen, you just move on.”

Angel Reese scores

O’Neal praised Reese during a phone call after the fight, saying she “did the right thing.”

“I called her and I said, ‘You did the right thing. Trust me, you did the right thing, because if you would have went out there, they would have been looking for you. You and [Kamilla] Cardoso get into a shoving match. She’s already ejected. Can’t play in the next round. That would have happened to you. It would have been all your fault.’ So, she did the right thing. Kudos to her.”

The bracket for the 2024 NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will be finalized March 17. The tournament tips off March 20. The national championship game will be played April 7 in Cleveland.

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