Discovering BIG GIRL Basketball: My Introduction to LSU’s Angel Reese

It was December 9, 2018 and two of my homies were set to battle in what I thought would be a highly competitive scholastic basketball matchup. Abington’s highly regarded boys basketball team, featuring Eric Dixon and Lucas Monroe, was traveling to Washington, D.C. to face Nick Myles’ nationally ranked squad led by point GOD Ace Baldwin in the Gonzaga DC Classic. I settled into the small Gonzaga gym, grabbed my requisite hot dog, chips and coke expecting a fierce battle.

Seated mid-court directly facing both benches I was hyped… Nick Myles is my brother from another mother… For several years, he had been beating up on every opponent he faced from the Philadelphia region… Summer games, Fall games, scrimmages, regular season games… Didn’t matter… Nick and Ace were knocking everybody off…

I thought, maybe… just maybe that night would be different…

After all, Grasty came to town with Dixon… At the high school level, on most nights, against most opponents… that was more than enough. Dixon was the proverbial “man-child”. He was just too big, too skilled, too determined… too FUCKIN good for most high school opponents. I thought Dixon might prove to be too much for St. Frances and finally, one of my Philly homies would get a win against the mighty Panthers from Baltimore.

Naaaaaaaah… It wasn’t meant to be. Just another day at the office for Myles and his boys.

St. Frances knocked off Abington 77-54.

But I will always remember that game for something that happened off the court. As I’m watching the action, a very pretty young lady seated behind me tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around…

“What’s up?”

“You ain’t right… I see you all the time covering our boys, you need to come see our girls play.”

“Why? Are y’all as good as the boys?”


“Really… You play?”


“You good? Can YOU ball?”


“What’s up with your recruitment? You got any offers?”

“I’m down to my final 5.”

“Ohhhh… Ok give ‘em to me.”

“USC, Syracuse, Tennessee, Maryland and South Carolina.”

“Wait a minute… Who are YOU?”

“Angel Reese… google me.”

It took me about 4.8 seconds on the google machine to realize that this beautiful, articulate, confident, self-assured and brash young lady was the number 2 player in the Class of 2020.

At that very moment, she forced me to reconsider the way I approached coverage of HS sports. I had to admit to myself that there was no way I would ever engage in a whole basketball conversation with ESPN’s #2 ranked Boy Basketball recruit and not have a clue who he was.

It just wouldn’t happen… Girls basketball deserved better… Angel Reese deserved better…

Right then… Right there… I decided to do an instant background check. I face-timed Dawn Staley, Head Women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina. When Dawn’s face appeared on my phone, I pointed the camera at young Ms. Reese and asked a simple pointed question…

“Dawn… what’s up with this one?”

“She’s the one Del… I NEED to get her… Help me out…”

“Say less…”

From that moment on, I was a fan of young Ms. Reese. Per her suggestion, I made my way down to Baltimore to watch the St. Frances girls play. As she claimed, they were as good or better than the boys. And individually, Reese was even better than she described herself.

As noted earlier, she was the #2 overall player in the class of 2020 and the No. 1 wing as ranked by ESPN. She was a McDonald’s All-American. Reese led Saint Frances to three straight IAAM championships and two conference titles while averaging 18 points, 20 rebounds and five assists per game for her career. She was named Player of the Year by The Baltimore Sun after her junior and senior seasons and was also named USA Today First Team All-American. She was also a key cog for Team Takeover which won the Girls EYBL National Championship.

Just like Kurk Lee, Ace Baldwin, Jonathan Lamothe, Khyrie Staten and a host of other St. Frances boys, Ms. Reese became one my BMore youngins.

Over the next few months, I cajoled, begged, pleaded and urged Reese to consider and commit to my homie at the University of South Carolina. I explained that I knew Dawn since she was Angel’s age.

My college roommate Dexter Matthews grew up with Dawn in the Raymond Rosen Projects in North Philly. Dex let everyone in earshot know that his lil’ homie Dawn Staley was coming and coming hard. It was only right that Dex was one of the first people I encountered upon entering the arena before the game.

Delgreco Wilson and Dexter Matthews

He introduced a generation of Lincoln University alums to the legend of Dawn Staley. We all became invested as Staley matriculated at the University of Virginia. We watched and cheered as she led Virginia to four NCAA Tournament appearances, three Final 4’s and one National Championship game. We watched lil’ Dawn from Raymond Rosen become finest player in the land. She was named the national player of the year in 1991 and 1992.

After meeting Angel, I sensed she could be on a similar trajectory toward greatness. Wouldn’t it be great if da homie coached da youngin? I talked to Angel… I talked to her Momma… over and over again.

I would wear South Carolina hoodies or sweatsuits if I knew I would see young Angel. I tried… I really tried to help da homie land da youngin.

At the end of the day… couldn’t get it done… Reese committed to the University of Maryland at College Park.

As a freshman, Reese saw action in 15 games, missing 14 due to a foot injury. When available, she was good. She averaged 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds as a rookie and scored in double figures in eight of 15 games.

During her sophomore campaign, a healthy Reese returned to the national stage. She became the first Terp sophomore to average a double-double since Angie Scott in 1975. Reese scored in double figures in 27 of 32 games, scoring 20+ points in 14 games. She led team in scoring in 17 games and in rebounding in 26 games. Reese was named AP Third Team All-American, USBWA All-America Honorable Mention, All-Big Ten First Team and All-Big Ten Defensive Team.

Da BMore youngin was rollin’…

Then Da BMore youngin entered the portal…

Once again, I talked to my homie in Columbia, South Carolina about the possibility of Reese becoming a Gamecock.

Angel and her mother visited three SEC schools: South Carolina, Tennessee, and LSU.

Once again… couldn’t help Staley get it done… Reese committed to Louisiana State University.

Reese wanted to be “free”. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated she stated “I didn’t feel like I was the player I am now… I wanted to regain my confidence, be free and have fun playing ball.”

“It was a tough step to make, but I had to walk in faith.”

Her faith has been amply rewarded…

Statistically speaking, Reese is making the strongest case for National Player of the Year. Her numbers are among the best in the country and her well-rounded skill set is very strong. Her 23.2 ppg rank fifth and 15.3 rpg second. Reese notched double-doubles in and helped lead LSU to 23 consecutive wins heading into a nationally televised showdown with Coach Staley and the also undefeated Gamecocks.

The game itself was over before the national anthem…

Staley had her team prepared, locked and loaded… For the overwhelming majority of the contest, it looked like a complete mismatch. South Carolina scored early, easily and often while racing out to a 18-2 lead. The game plan devised by Staley was obvious. Reigning SEC and National Player of the Year, Aliyah Boston and Center Kamilla Cardoso were NOT going to allow Reese to relentlessly pound the glass as she had in every other game this season. Boston and Cardosa resembled Parrish and McHale and they grabbed every carom and effectively prevented Reese from finding and cracks and crevices in the wall they installed around the low post on the defensive end.

Boston finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, and was highly focused on placing her sturdy frame between Reese and the basket. Cardoso led the Gamecocks with 18 points and 13 rebounds. These women were too big… too strong… too good and too well COACHED for LSU to overcome.

Reese struggled to impact the game. She picked up two first-quarter fouls and was limited to just three first-half points. Reese’s venerated 23 game double-double streak came to a screeching halt in Columbia. She finished with 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting and managed to grab just four rebounds.

Unlike Connecticut Head Coach, Geno Auriemma, who was BITCHIN’ after losing to Staley and the Gamecocks last week, LSU coach Mulkey praised the Gamecocks.

“I’ll give my utmost respect and comments about how good they are, how big they are, how tall they are,” Mulkey said. “It’s South Carolina, in my opinion, and everyone else. After playing them today, my opinion on that has not changed. They have things that we don’t have and a lot of the teams in the country don’t have. We aspire to be there one day.”

I am grateful that I was able to be attendance for this event… There were over 18,000 fans jammed into the sold-out arena to watch a regular season women’s college basketball game. This season, I’ve attended at least 10 Big 10 games and several Big East, American Athletic Conference and Atlantic 10 conference matchups. None of them come close to generating the buzz and electricity surrounding this contest.

If I hadn’t ventured to Washington, D.C. on a cold December day in 2018… If Angel Reese hadn’t admonished me for failing to adequately cover the girls side…

If she hadn’t told me to “google” her… I wouldn’t have been at that game and I would be much worse off as a result.

My BMore youngin is a truly GREAT college player… A bona fide 1st team All-American… A surefire WNBA lottery pick… She just can’t fuck with Coach Staley and the Gamecocks… But who can?

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