DALLAS -- LSU Tigers women's basketball star Angel Reese won the national championship and the Most Outstanding Player award at the women's Final Four on Sunday, then said she wasn't concerned about any criticism directed toward her.
"All year, I was critiqued for who I was. I don't fit the narrative," Reese said. "I don't fit the box that y'all want me to be in. I'm too hood. I'm too ghetto. Y'all told me that all year. When other people do it, and y'all don't say nothing.
"So this is for the girls that look like me. For those that want to speak up for what they believe in. It's unapologetically you. And that's what I [did] before tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. And Twitter is going to go into a rage every time."
Reese, a 6-foot-3 forward who transferred to LSU this season after two years at Maryland, had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Tigers' 102-85 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Late in the game, she gave wrestling star John Cena's "You can't see me" hand motion toward Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark, then motioned to her ring finger to symbolize the national championship ring she would be receiving.
Clark, who had done her own Cena move and trash talk during the tournament, was asked about Reese and said she didn't notice anything negative about her or LSU.
"I was just trying to get to the handshake line and shake hands and be grateful that my team was in that position," Clark said. "All the credit in the world to LSU. They were tremendous. They deserve it. They had a tremendous season.
"Kim Mulkey coached them so, so well. She's one of the best basketball coaches of all time, and it shows. She only said really kind things to me in the handshake line, so I'm very grateful of that too."
Reese said of her gestures, "Caitlin Clark is a hell of a player, for sure. But ... I was in my bag. I was in my moment."
Reese, who finished this season averaging 23.0 points and 15.4 rebounds, has been a perfect fit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has said transferring to LSU was the best decision of her life. Her teammates have appreciated having her.
She has multiple name, image and likeness deals and is a popular figure on social media, although she says the chatter there doesn't really matter to her.
"I feel like I've helped grow women's basketball this year. I'm super happy and excited," Reese said. "I don't care about anybody else and what they have to say about me. I don't care to be All-American. I don't care to be defensive player of the year, player of the year. The biggest goal is to be a national champion, and that's what I did.
"That's what I can just brag on. Twitter can say what Twitter can say. I love reading those comments. I have all the screenshots of what everybody has said about me all season. What are you going to say now?"