Stephen a Smith Digs Up Wary Angel Reese Treatment as Kim Mulkey’s “Dirty Debutant” Controversy Spirals

Published 04/01/2024, 1:47 PM EDT

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It’s that time of the year when basketball fans are also deeply invested in college basketball alongside the NBA, thanks to the NCAA’s March Madness. Recently, LSU, the reigning women’s NCAA champions, secured a solid 78-69 victory over the UCLA Bruins in their Sweet Sixteen matchup. However, their victory was marred by a controversial article by the LA Times, which labeled LSU as “dirty debutantes.”

The article has since caused a media firestorm, continuing to spiral out of control. Subsequently, LSU’s head coach, Kim Mulkey, labeled it as “sexist, awful and wrong.” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith also gave his two cents on the LA Times-LSU controversy. During a conversation on the First Take, Smith said, “Kim Mulkey was absolutely right, and she was right to point it out in terms of the sexism that was displayed.” While Smith agreed with Mulkey’s remarks, he also called out her for sidelining Angel Reese at the start of the season. He said, “It does call upon her to look in the mirror because we still got questions as to how she treated Angel Reese at the beginning of the season.”


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Angel Reese, who played an instrumental role in LSU’s NCAA championship win last season, missed the first four games of the season due to undisclosed reasons. However, some reports suggested that unspecified “locker room issues” were the cause of Reese’s unexplained absence from the team. The speculations were further exacerbated by Kim Mulkey’s continued silence on the matter. Angel Reese returned to the team’s roster in late November, just in time for LSU’s matchup against Virginia Tech.

Could the LA Times controversy derail LSU’s title hopes?

While the men’s division of the NCAA tournament has traditionally received more attention, female stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese have been attracting growing viewership to the women’s division in recent years. This season too, basketball fans remain glued to their televisions, as March Madness progresses towards its culmination.


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March Madness has several entertaining matchups lined up for fans, but tomorrow’s match between LSU and Iowa has the potential to break viewership records. Two of women’s college basketball’s biggest stars, Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, face off in a rematch of last season’s finals. Although Iowa is seeded first and LSU holds the third seed, seeding is of little importance in a game with such high stakes.

If LSU can overcome the challenge posed by Iowa and Caitlin Clark, they would likely emerge as favorites to defend their NCAA title. What are your thoughts? Can LSU and Angel Reese overcome Iowa and Caitlin Clark? Let us know in the comments below!


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Written by:

Dushyant Singh


One take at a time

Dushyant Singh is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Ever since the Lakers’ Orlando Bubble victory, he has maintained a vigilant eye on the NBA with his research-heavy perspective, along with a specialization in covering predictive lineups. He keenly observes the evolving narratives that unfold each season.
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Edited by:

Sanchari Bhaduri