April 2, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: 2023 Women’s Final Four: Angel Reese, LSU are champions, and they don’t care what you think

Howard, Natalie and Jenn spoke to players and coaches from both locker rooms after the national championship game

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. A 102-85 win for LSU gave the Tigers the title over Caitlin Clark and Iowa, and Angel Reese punctuated the performance with some on-court celebrating. But guess what? She is her authentic self, the champion, and she does not care what you think about it all. Jenn Hatfield reports from inside the LSU locker room, Natalie Heavren does the same from Iowa’s locker room, and host Howard Megdal, who spoke to the key players and head coaches, puts it all in perspective.

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Natalie talks about the sense of pride in the Iowa Hawkeyes and Monika Czinano‘s legacy with Iowa:

“Yes, yes. And I think that’s something that leads to Lisa Bluder talked about when I was reading over the transcript. But there was definitely a lot of teary eyes and red faces. There were definitely a lot of tears before the media came in. But definitely a sense of pride. Gabbie Marshall talked about it; Hannah Stuelke was the first player I heard say that it inspired her to want to come back better next year and as a freshman, so she has a long Iowa career ahead of her. But yeah, definitely a lot of teary eyes. And some players did have a little bit of trouble, looking forward. But, definitely, a big moment for them to absorb and wanted to give them the option to feel that and not have to look ahead.”

“Her teammates, obviously very complimentary of her, love playing with her. You know, I think her lasting legacy is she’s going to be talked about like we talked about Megan Gustafson as a legacy in the Iowa program, another Iowa post, add them to the list coached by Jan Jensen. But you know, Monika was in tears when she walked to the press conference. But by the time she came back, she and Caitlin did some extra availability for those that participated in the locker room availability. And she was really excited. She’s excited about her opportunity to play overseas. But she really talked about more than just loving the game of basketball, loving her teammates. There’s a real family atmosphere. And you could feel that in the locker room.”

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Jenn talks about LSU’s moment in the locker room after winning the national championship:

“Yeah, so you know, I think I’ll take you back even further than that. A bunch of us media members were waiting in the hallway; it’s more like a tunnel leading up to their locker room. And all of these alums that you know from the WNBA, Kim Mulkey, alums national LSU alum sure. DiDi Richards, Kalani Brown, and Odyssey Sims, they were all there waiting for the folks of the moment, the current team and Kim Mulkey and Angel Reese, rounds the corner, and they completely flip out like Taylor Swift walking down the hallway, right? They were so excited. And then Kim comes by a couple of moments later in her, if you didn’t see it on TV, her sequined tiger print suit. She’s lost her heels.

So she comes down the hall, and DiDi and Kalani basically tackle her like one on each shoulder and they’re just so happy to see her. So that was a really fun scene, everyone really appreciating from years past really appreciating what Kim and now at LSU have done. So then, fast forwarding to the locker room, there was a sense of calm there; it was a chaotic locker room in the sense that there were a lot of cameras, a lot of lights, and a lot of noise.

But the players were confident sitting at their lockers, not flustered by the moment. It didn’t feel like they got sped up. Even though there are tons of people clamoring for their attention, they kind of just sat there and invested in the moment as much as you can while you’re getting our tape recorders thrust in your face. Like they seem to kind of really enjoy getting asked 17 times what it feels like to win a national championship.”

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