Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark Address Rivalry as They Prepare for LSU-Iowa Rematch: We 'Don't Hate Each Other'

"I don't think people realize it's not personal,” Reese told reporters ahead of the star players’ Elite Eight face-off

Lance King/Getty Images;C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese
Lance King/Getty Images;C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese

LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark are clearing the air about their supposed rivalry as they gear up for a rematch of last year’s women’s NCAA tournament championship game.

After the Tigers clinched the win in last year’s championship game, Reese’s “You can’t see me” taunts directed toward the Hawkeyes guard — who had been doing the same taunt earlier in the tournament — went viral. Now, ahead of Monday’s Elite Eight rematch, both Reese, 21, and Clark, 22, are opening up about what their connection actually looks like on and off the court.

When asked to describe her relationship with Reese during a Sunday press conference, the star guard said that the pair “have always been great competitors.”

<p> Greg Nelson /Sports Illustrated via Getty</p> Angel Reese teasing Caitlin Clark after winning the NCAA women's basketball championship in 2023

Greg Nelson /Sports Illustrated via Getty

Angel Reese teasing Caitlin Clark after winning the NCAA women's basketball championship in 2023

"Obviously she played in the Big Ten for a while to begin her career, and that’s what makes women’s basketball so fun is you have great competition, and that’s what we’ve had all year long,” she added of the Tigers forward.

Related: Angel Reese Says She and Caitlin Clark Can Have Their Rivalry and 'Still Be Cool After'

Clark also said she thinks Angel would “say the same,” adding that “it’s not just us in women’s basketball.”

“That’s not the only competitive thing about where our game is at, and that’s what makes it so good,” she said. “We need multiple people to be really good.”

Reese also cleared the air ahead of the highly anticipated matchup, telling reporters on Sunday that “I don't think people realize it's not personal.”

"Once we get out between those lines… if I see you walking down the street, it's like, 'Hey, girl, what's up? Let's hang out.' I think people just take it like we hate each other,” Reese said. “Me and Caitlin Clark don't hate each other. I want everybody to understand that. It's just a super-competitive game.”

<p>Andy Lyons/Getty</p> Angel Reese

Andy Lyons/Getty

Angel Reese

Related: Angel Reese on 'Frustrating' Caitlin Clark Drama: 'It's Bigger Than Me'

“Once I get between those lines, there's no friends,” the star forward continued. “I have plenty of friends outside of the game. But when I get between those lines, we're not we're not friends. We're not buddies.”

And Reese added that taunts are all part of the game — when she's on the court. “I'm going to talk trash to you. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get in your head the whole entire game, but after the game, we can kick it. I don't think people really realize that.”

Reese also added that she’s okay with taking on “the villain role” during games.

"I'll take the hit for it, but I know we're growing women's basketball and if this is the way we're going to do it, then this is the way we're going to do it,” she finished. “You either like it or you don't."

<p>Andy Lyons/Getty</p> Caitlin Clark

Andy Lyons/Getty

Caitlin Clark

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In her own chat with reporters, Clark looked beyond the Monday matchup and into both her future and Reese’s, reminding reporters that both athletes are pursuing big dreams beyond March Madness as the Iowa star preps for the WNBA draft, and Reese takes time to figure out if she'll play another year of college ball or go pro.

"I think both of our careers, whether she decides to stay or to go, we’ll have great careers in the WNBA, and that’s been both of our dreams all along,” Clark said of her and Reese.

“I think we’re both excited for that, as well," she added.

LSU and Iowa face off again in the Elite Eight at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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