Angel Reese brags about...losing? South Carolina basketball

South Carolina basketball has beaten LSU twice this season, and their star Angel Reese bragged to ESPN about keeping it close.
Angel Reese when South Carolina basketball beat her LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge earlier this season.
Angel Reese when South Carolina basketball beat her LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge earlier this season. / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks are the favorite to win the national championship despite coming into the year as an underdog within their own conference to the LSU Tigers. LSU won last year's title and brought in two All-Americans in the transfer portal, while USC lost all five starters from a year ago.

Yet, the Gamecocks have been the team to prove themselves as the class of women's college basketball this season, going undefeated and winning the SEC by 3 games, beating LSU (for the second time this season) in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.

In a long article from ESPN's Katie Barnes that was released this week, LSU star Angel Reese had a lot to say. She had plenty of good things to say and presented herself well in much of the conversation, both when discussing basketball and when discussing other things. Some of her comments, though, were interesting, to say the least.

When speaking about the South Carolina basketball team (and her rivalry with Gamecock post player Kamilla Cardoso), Barnes' article cites some strange quotes from Reese.

The oddest one came when Reese spoke about the January matchup between the two teams in Baton Rouge when College GameDay was in town. The Gamecocks won the game in come-from-behind fashion, but the LSU star seemed to brag to Barnes about the game.

"That game, that was one on my calendar...we were the only team that held them to what? We lost by six. Us being able to do that on our home court was something."

At first glance, it seems ridiculous that the SEC Player of the Year and defending national champion would be bragging about losing a basketball game. The implied admission that South Carolina is better than LSU is really strange (even if it is true) considering all of her comments about the Gamecocks in the past ("We aren't scared of South Carolina," etc.).

However, when one looks at the numbers, it makes sense why Reese and LSU would be excited about keeping things close against a superior South Carolina basketball team. The Gamecocks have won 16 in a row and haven't lost to LSU since 2012. Reese was 9 years old at the time.

Since that last Tiger win, Carolina has won 8 SEC regular season titles and 8 SEC Tournament championships. LSU has 0 of both. The Gamecocks have 2 national championships (and were heavy favorites to win before the 2020 postseason was canceled by Covid). LSU has 1 but avoided USC along the way.

Since that 2011-2012 season when LSU last won, Carolina has averaged 31 victories per season and just 4 losses. In contrast, LSU has averaged 11 defeats per year, a number that is higher than the Gamecocks' worst season during that stretch. In the head-to-head matchups, the Gamecocks won by an average margin of 16 points per game.

When one looks at it like that, maybe a 6-point loss really is worth celebrating for LSU.

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