Caitlin Clark Defends Angel Reese After Backlash for Her Taunts: 'I'm a Big Fan of Hers'

has shut down rumors of bad blood between her and LSU star .

Clark, 21, whose 191 points throughout the 2023 March Madness games set a new record in the NCAA tournament, defended her opponent on Tuesday.

"I don't think Angel should be criticized at all," Clark said. "No matter which way it goes, she should never be criticized for what she did," the Iowa star said after Reese, 20, was heavily criticized for taunting during Sunday's title game, which LSU ultimately won 102-85.

Clark continued, "I think everybody knew there was gonna be a little trash talk in the entire tournament," Clark explained. "It's not just me and Angel."

Clark, despite delivering a tearful postgame interview on Sunday, told ESPN that the LSU Tigers earned their NCAA Championship over her team. "LSU deserved it, they played so well, and like I said, I'm a big fan of hers," Clark said of Reese.

The Iowa star's defense of Reese comes amid a clear discrepancy in reactions to Reese and Clark's taunts. The online reaction to both athletes exposed the racist double standards that the sport continues to be plagued by, particularly when online critics get involved.

On several occasions during the tournament, Clark was praised for appearing to taunt her opponents on the court.

On Friday, called "Caitlin Clark: The Queen of Clap Backs" which highlighted the Iowa star's trash talk, including when she told a Louisville player, "You're down 15 points, shut up," in an earlier round of the competition.

But while Clark's taunts were met with praise from the media and users on Twitter, Reese was harshly criticized for the same behavior towards Clark on Sunday.

, "Let's call it what it is. [Clark] did the waving, she did the Cena," referring to the "you can't see me" hand gesture made popular by wrestler John Cena.

Smith, 55, pointed out that during Iowa's semi-final match up againt South Carolina, Clark "waved off" one of the team's shooters. "She didn't mind being disrespectful, so why is it that we're hesitant to bring that up?"

During her postgame interview, Reese said, "All year I was critiqued about who I was. I don't fit the narrative. I don't fit in the box that you all want me to be in. I'm too hood, I'm too ghetto. You told me that all year. But when other people do it, y'all don't say nothing."

Reese continued, "So this is for the girls that look like me, that want to speak up on what they believe in. It's unapologetically you. It was bigger than me tonight. I'm happy. I felt I helped grow women's basketball."

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