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LSU’s Angel Reese draws sellout crowd in ‘homecoming’ road game

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Angel Reese waves before throwing out the first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on July 18, 2023. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Angel Reese grew up in Baltimore playing basketball on boys’ teams, doing what she had to do to stand out.

Now, as a 21-year-old and one of the biggest stars in college basketball, she returns to her old stomping grounds to play against Coppin State.

Reese’s Charm City homecoming will be the first time a historically Black college or university has ever hosted the incumbent NCAA championship team. Reese and the LSU Tigers will be bringing a sold-out crowd with them to PEC Arena.

“The demand for tickets has been endless,” Coppin State athletic director Derek Carter said. “The last couple of weeks I’ve been reminded of a lot of friends that I, honestly, had forgotten about.”

Reese is eligible for the 2024 WNBA draft — and with a name as big as hers, it’s likely she’ll enter and be drafted high. Seventh-ranked LSU wanted a homecoming game for Reese before she leaves the NCAA, and the HBCU in Baltimore is an ideal location. 

“Someone on the LSU staff called me and she told me LSU wanted to bring Angel home, and would we be interested,” Eagles coach Jermaine Woods told Andscape. “It’s not every day you get a chance to get an All-American, a national championship team and a Hall of Fame coach to come to your building.” 

The last time Coppin State hosted a team as highly ranked as LSU came in 2021, when Reese played there wearing different clothes — her former team, the Maryland Terrapins, were ranked sixth when Reese last appeared at PEC Arena. She drew a crowd then, too. 

The Tigers already have been upset once this season, by another ranked team in Colorado. Coppin State could be the next tick in the loss column for LSU. 

But beside the chance to play and beat a highly skilled opposing team, hosting the Tigers at their home arena presents a rare opportunity for the Eagles. Bringing such a high-profile player to their home city affords the team visibility and a lot of money from ticket sales. 

“My list has 45 names, and people are still calling me because everybody wants to see LSU and Angel Reese,” Woods said. “LSU could have taken this game to anywhere in the area — Towson, Loyola, Morgan, UMBC. But they chose Coppin, in the heart of West Baltimore.

“It’s an amazing opportunity, and it’s great that we’re bringing this big spotlight to Coppin State University.”