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Angel Reese responds to backlash over her championship celebration

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Angel Reese will not back down.

She showed that on the court in LSU’s national championship win Sunday, and she showed that after the game in her response to the social media furor resulting from her on-court celebration.

As the clock wound down on LSU’s 102-85 win over Iowa, Reese called out to Iowa star Caitlin Clark and waved her hand in front of her face, mimicking Clark’s own gesture from earlier in the tournament. While social media critics were quick to jump on Reese, she offered a confident response on her own social media accounts and in the postgame press conference.

“All year, I was critiqued about who I was,” Reese said. “I don’t fit the narrative. I don’t fit in a box that y’all want me to be in. I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto. Y’all told me that all year.

“But when other people do it, y’all say nothing. So this was for the girls that look like me, that’s going to speak up on what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you. That’s what I did it for tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. It was bigger than me.

“Twitter is going to go on a rage every time, and I’m happy. I feel like I’ve helped grow women’s basketball this year. I’m super happy and excited. So I’m looking forward to celebrating in the next season.”

WNBA star Natasha Cloud pointed out the loaded undercurrent of the vitriol directed at Reese, especially as Clark did not receive the same volume of criticism for her similar gesture in the Elite Eight. Her comments echo those of South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who defended her players after a Final Four loss to Iowa.

“White players are ‘passionate’ and ‘competitive,'” Cloud wrote. “Black players are ‘classless’ ‘thugs.’ It’s reckless narratives that continue to divide us.”

Another WNBA player in Diamond DeShields complimented Reese for how she handled herself, writing: “Angel represents the generation of young athletes who don’t care what nobody talkin’ bout.”

Reese retweeted DeShields and added her own comment, reinforcing her status as unbothered by her critics.

Reese also retweeted others who had taken to Twitter to defend her, including NBA star LeBron James.