Angel Reese Credits LSU Coach Kim Mulkey for Early Success in the WNBA

Angel Reese Credits LSU Coach Kim Mulkey for Early Success in the WNBA
Image Credit: Angel Reese and LSU Coach Kim Mulke

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese has quickly emerged as one of the standout rookies in the WNBA this season, and she attributes much of her early success to her time with the LSU Tigers and her former head coach, Kim Mulkey.

“Kim Mulkey kind of prepared me for this moment,” Reese shared in an interview with CBS Sports HQ. “At LSU, our practice was like four hours. We were ready; we were working. I thought training was going to be harder. I think I was really prepared. I didn’t have any WNBA surprises yet.”

Reese’s journey to the WNBA included a pivotal transfer from Maryland to LSU in 2022, a year after Mulkey took over the LSU program following a stellar 21-year tenure at Baylor. In 2023, Reese and Mulkey led the Tigers to their first NCAA women’s basketball title, with Reese setting an NCAA single-season record of 34 double-doubles.

The championship victory garnered significant praise, including from NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, who hailed Reese as the greatest athlete ever to come out of LSU sports, placing her above himself and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Mulkey’s achievement in leading LSU to a national title also made her the first women’s coach in NCAA Division I history to win championships at two different programs.

Despite not repeating as champions, the Tigers made a strong run to the Elite Eight in the 2023–24 season. Reese, who was selected 7th overall in this year’s WNBA draft, faced the challenge of transitioning to the professional level.

“I think I’ve had a lot of ‘welcome to the WNBA’ moments… I was getting cooked the first game, I’m not going to lie,” Reese admitted. However, she quickly adapted, averaging 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and a team-high 1.9 steals per game. She has recorded four double-doubles in her first ten games and recently became the first WNBA player this season to achieve consecutive double-doubles with five-plus steals.

Despite scoring in double digits in eight games, Reese acknowledges that her field goal percentage of 34.6% is an area for improvement. “Honestly, I think the speed is actually faster, of course. But for me, coming into the league, I know defense and rebounds are something I can always take to the next level,” Angel Reese said. “I knew that was going to be my thing. I think I’ve done a great job being great on defense and rebounding. I think I have a lot more room for growth offensively, but I think I’ve done a great job so far.”

Mulkey continues to support Reese, as evidenced by her attendance at a recent Sky game against the Washington Mystics, where the Sky won 79-71. Angel Reese immediately sought out Mulkey for a hug at the buzzer. “It was tough for me to leave LSU, but she talked to head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, and she trusted T-Spoon with me. She knows it’s the same. (Weatherspoon) expects a lot out of me,” Reese shared. “I’m just happy Mulkey loves me and supports me. I want people to realize Kim Mulkey loves you off the court too, and she’ll support you no matter what. She is like a mother to me.”

Reese’s performance and growth in the WNBA reflect the strong foundation laid during her time at LSU under Mulkey’s guidance, highlighting the significant impact a dedicated coach can have on a player’s career.


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