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On Iowa-LSU and Angel Reese’s Taunting: NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship Recap

What was unexpectedly the Jasmine Carson Show tuned into...well, a bunch of old white dudes on the Internet being angry. Which sucks.

Syndication: USA TODAY
Just phenomenal caption work by Hawkcentral: “Background: Angel Reese (10) shows Iowa Caitlin Clark her ring finger during the final seconds of the women’s NCAA Tournament national championship game.”
Zach Boyden-Holmes / USA TODAY NETWORK

Well, you certainly got your money’s worth.

Whether you rooted for Iowa, LSU, or a good game—and we can’t promise the third item on that list occurred—the women’s basketball national championship in Dallas certainly delivered some bang for its buck.

[3] LSU Tigers 102, [2] Iowa Hawkeyes 85

It didn’t matter that LSU guard Jasmine Carson hadn’t scored in three games: she couldn’t miss on Sunday afternoon, going 5/6 from deep and 8/9 from the field en route to 22 points of unaccounted-for production.

Up ten with 1:40 to go in the first half, LSU reeled off seven straight points, capped off by an absurd Carson banked-in three to make it 59-42 at half. While Iowa buried three straight threes to get it to a seven-point game in the third quarter, it wasn’t to be.

Refereeing concerns dominated social media, but we will remind you here that, at Off Tackle Empire, if you persist in such silliness, you will be required to buy a one-way ticket to Prague and accompany me to a third-story window in the castle there.

LSU shot a ridiculous 65% from deep and 54% from the field, grabbed 42.4% of available offensive rebounds, and let Alexis Morris cook (21 points and 9 assists) on a night where Iowa kept a decent lid on Angel Reese’s production—even if the star forward grabbed 6 offensive boards by herself.

Iowa bombed away, as Iowa is wont to do, with Caitlin Clark shooting a ridiculous 19 threes (making 8, a 42% clip) en route to 30 points—a game high—and 6 assists. But Monika Czinano was not her usual efficient self from the field (5/11), the Hawkeyes struggled on the interior glass, and lacked the bench depth to overcome foul trouble in a tightly-called game. (I realize “tightly-called” is carrying a lot of water, for some of you, and once again I would direct you to purchase that ticket to Prague so I can shove you out a window and tell you to learn just one other thing about the game of basketball.)

The Cinderella story for Iowa thus ends this year, but I wouldn’t bet against the Hawkeyes next year: Caitlin Clark will be back, hungry and angry.

The Controversy

That is, of course, in part—perhaps—because of this noise, which led to the postgame being less about the excellence of the two teams on the court and more about, well, a chance for old white Twitter warriors to air their grievances in the name of “the sanctity of the game” and “good sportsmanship”:

And for that, we leave it to the OTE hivemind:

MNW: A reaction to Iowa/LSU would be great, writers. I’d especially appreciate someone tackling the Angel Reese/Caitlin Clark controversy. I trust we could handle this in a deft enough way to avoid taking the same side as Dave Portnoy.

misdreavus79: What’s Portnoy’s side?

beezer07: LSU player who taunted Iowa superstar is a “piece of shit”.

misdreavus: LOL definitely not on that side!

beez: Here’s my very short and unprofessional take: all the dudes getting bent out of shape over shit talking in a Natty are the same dudes who call it the No Fun League because they penalize celebrations/taunting, won’t shut up about the “pussification” of sports, and rail against participation trophies.

misdreavus: And you know, there’s the whole “hasn’t Clark been doing this exact same thing herself all tournament long?”

beez: If money were to be provided, I’d bet the “data” shows that these dudes are silent in 98% of taunting situations regardless of race, but this was a big stage and it involves the two…sides most likely to get their brain dead followers to like and subscribe.

misdreavus: So you’re left with either 1) a group of people who didn’t watch a second of women’s hoops until this very moment, or, more sinisterly, 2) a whole group of people who didn’t seem to have a problem with this until the black girl did it.

beez: “Baseball is boring” Bromie Brohan said. “And the worst part is when the thugs in MLB pimp their home runs. Just act like you’ve been there before!” “There are children who saw this taunt, and now they’re going to have a bad attitude their whole lives. And by the way, did you see what that lil BITCH LeBron did the other day? Why can’t he act more like Luka?”

MNW: Well, that’s the article...

beez: Need to throw together a bibliography. Something I did repeatedly in elementary and middle school and pretty sure never ever again.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: I thought it was established fact that Iowa fans have the thinnest skin on earth when they’re the subject of the joke, particularly when they’re getting their ass beat at the time (see: Stanford Marching Band).

OK, but let’s let the Iowans talk:

Creighton: My thoughts, organized in no particular order:

  • Shit talking is good for sports and should be encouraged
  • The Iowa coaches and players were not upset by it so you shouldn’t be either
  • Fuck Dave Portnoy
  • Policing the behavior of 20 year olds on the biggest day of their lives is weird freak behavior
  • Complaining about Reese takes heat off the actual villain (Mulkey)
  • Dave Portnoy’s girlfriend cheated on him with her SoulCycle instructor
  • “classless” is a racist dog whistle and I’m not surprised at some of the people using it to complain
  • If you’re genuinely mad at Angel Reese and not just frustrated with the loss, you have to know that, as a shit talker, your angry tweets are only feeding her and making her more happy so it’s best to talk about other things like how portnoy stands on his tippy toes in photos so it looks like he’s taller than 5’5”.

I have Olbermann muted and almost missed this exchange as a result:

beez: The best part of the Olbermann tweet is that two tweets later he apologized because he doesn’t follow womens bball and didn’t know the context.

misdreavus: So he was (1) above.

Creighton: He’s always been a massive clown and any positive things I’ve heard said about him boil down to “he hates the same people i hate” (personally can’t relate because i don’t think he hates himself).

Stewmonkey13: Angel Reese is awesome and great for women’s college basketball. Caitlin Clark is awesome and great for women’s college basketball.

Kim Mulkey is a bag of Shit walking around in a shiny suit. David Portnoy is a bag of Shit walking around in a short suit.

Talking Shit is generally fun and good for sports. Is there maybe a slight difference in the way they did the shit talking? Sure, but does it really matter? Fuck no. Not really. Any claim otherwise is sour grapes for losing, at best, and outright racism is just flying all over the place from awful national figures.

Creighton: I can’t stress enough how much it irritates me that we let someone other than Mulkey become the main character. Reese wasn’t the one who spent the entire game 3 feet onto the floor grabbing the arms of refs in the middle of a game.

Stew: Caitlin Clark, Lisa Bluder, and the rest of the Iowa team don’t need, or want, anyone coming to their defense over some perceived slight by internet shitbags.

Fuck all of this. Iowa lost because LSU played better.

Final thoughts, gang?

Kind of...: It’s just a fucking choose-your-own-misadventure book:

Reese did something Clark did, but in a different way. Clark did it toward her teammates walking to a huddle. Reese did it to Clark’s face after stalking her around the court. But Clark’s hand wave in the South Carolina game was more dismissive than any mimicking of John Cena moves. Reminds me of the old-timer I interacted with a few years ago who loved the enthusiasm Baker Mayfield brought the game, but couldn’t stand Cam Newton dabbing. We could do this all day, but it’s pointless.

Anybody with an opinion make a call, now and forever: do you want the whole loaf or none? There’s no half. Nobody’s going to appoint you commissioner of celebrations, so either you’re against them or you’re for them and nobody gives a fuck about the distinctions you draw. [Or, just admit you’re inconsistent, and live with that. I though the Argentina goalkeeper was classless, but Randy Moss “mooning” Lambeau was some of the funniest shit ever. NOBODY’S completely principled on this.]

And, yeah, we should talk about Kim Mulkey. She’s a fucking embarrassment. Pretty quickly reaching Fran levels (but with rings.) [How’s that for trash talk?]

Creighton: If one of Angel’s friends was in a jam in Russia, I’m pretty sure she’d have more to say than “no comment” when asked about it.

Stew: That’s because Reese can still help Mulkey.

WSR: We don’t need to discuss Mulkey. This is a basketball thread, and she’s off trying to get those Dalmatians to make an outfit to wear while protesting the Manhattan DA.

Creighton: If Fran did any of that shit they’d have sent him to The Hague instead of talking about his love of sequins.