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Angel Reese pokes fun at criticism of LSU’s ‘cupcake’ schedule

(Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

The LSU women’s basketball released its non-conference schedule for the upcoming season, and star Angel Reese had the perfect response ready for any critics.

The Tigers roared to the national championship despite their weak schedule last season. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, LSU’s strength of schedule ranked 89th overall and 315th for non-conference games.

This year’s schedule already looks tougher, with Virginia Tech and Colorado among the out-of-conference opponents. Both teams ranked in the top 25 at the end of the 2022-23 season, and the No. 4 Hokies went up against the Tigers in the Final Four.

Still, Reese must remember the sidelong glances her team received last year, because she posted a pointed photo upon the release of the new schedule. The photo shows Reese holding the national trophy surrounded by her teammates, with cupcakes in all of their hands. The message is clear: A “cupcake” schedule certainly didn’t stop them.

Reese also laughed off criticism of LSU’s schedule during the NCAA Tournament run. The Tigers, who entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed, defeated No. 2 seed Iowa in the national title game.

Ahead of the postseason, LSU head coach Kim Mulkey had assumed her team would not earn a No. 1 seed despite its impeccable record. The Tigers entered the tournament with a 28-2 record.

“Strength of schedule’s not going to change. The NET hasn’t changed. There’s nothing we can do that will change the committee’s mind,” she said before Selection Sunday.

Earlier in the season, Mulkey defended her scheduling in her second season as head coach at LSU.

“We inherited a program that won nine basketball games (in 2020-21), and if you think I am going to over-schedule before I know what I have, that would be a terrible mistake,” she said.

The 2023-24 schedule includes a visit to Reese’s home city of Baltimore on Dec. 20 to face Coppin State. The Tigers will also face Colorado in Las Vegas on Nov. 6 and host Virginia Tech in Baton Rouge on Nov. 30.