Angel Reese is one step away from reaching the pinnacle of college basketball. Her 3-seed LSU Tigers women's basketball team scratched and clawed their way through their March Madness bracket, and find themselves in Dallas to face Iowa in the NCAA National Championship game, as the Hawkeyes took down South Carolina. As Reese gears up to go toe to toe with Player of the Year Caitlin Clark, her brother Julian will be cheering her on from the school she left behind.
Starting Out Playing At Home
After spending her whole life in Baltimore County, and attending high school at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Angel Reese took the logical next step for a local girl. She enrolled at the University of Maryland, ready to lead the Maryland women's basketball team. While her freshman year was hampered by injury, her sophomore year with the Maryland Terrapins was a huge success. She averaged a double double, with 17.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, and was the first Maryland player to do so in 47 years. It was also the year that younger brother Julian Reese enrolled as a Freshman at Maryland, where he plays for the men's basketball team.
Just as they had been doing their entire lives, the Reese siblings were highly competitive with each other. This clearly helped serve as a catalyst that put them both in the national spotlight for their respective sophomore seasons. Angel was named to the First Team All Big Ten, Big Ten All-Defensive Team, and Third-Team All-American - AP. Julian managed to be All Big Ten Honorable Mention and posted the third-best single-season field goal percentage (.632) in program history. And he's got time and space to grow.
However after last year's NCAA Tournament, the Lady Terps took a big hit.
Why Angel Reese Left Maryland for LSU
In April 2022, star point guard Ashley Owusu entered the transfer portal, signaling a shift in College Park. Losing a basketball player like Owusu would have been a big enough blow for the Terps in and of itself, however, Angel Reese also entered the transfer portal, which created a one-two gut punch to Maryland. The Lady Terps had a tough season in 2021/2022.
In addition to the difficult season, there was some disagreement with the way Head Coach Brenda Frese was utilizing her best players. She was insistent on playing Reese in the front court, despite her preference to play guard. Owusu sat the fourth quarter in an eventual Regional Semi-Final loss against Stanford, despite putting up 30 points against them earlier in the year. Frese's best players were frustrated, and naturally looked to find their way out.
Owusu found her way to Virginia Tech, while Reese flew south to LSU, under Kim Mulkey's tutelage. Interestingly, they were reunited in a Final Four matchup in which Reese put up 24 points and 12 rebounds, booking a National Championship appearance. The move allowed Reese to play more freely, and the results have proven that she has been able to do so, alongside putting herself on a path for the WNBA. Throughout her 35 games this season, Reese has averaged 23.3 points and 15.6 rebounds, while dishing out 76 assists, blocking 56 shots, and committing 63 steals, all more than she managed in two combined seasons with Maryland.
Add a selection as a First-Team All-American - AP, and yeah - it seems this was the correct decision to make. Now let's see if a National Championship could be the icing on the cake. And, maybe, it could spark brother Julian to make some future changes for himself. Only time will tell.
MORE: Kim Mulkey's Homophobic Past Makes Her Hard to Root For
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