Angel Reese played a decisive role in ending the feud between Sheryl Swoopes and Caitlin Clark, how did she do it?

The LSU star was a go-between

Reese (right) helped Clark (left) put aside any beef with women's...

Reese (right) helped Clark (left) put aside any beef with women’s basketball icon Sheryl Swoopes.Lapresse

Many in the world of college basketball were surprised and angered by comments from basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes in reference to Iowa Hawkeyes superstar Caitlin Clark. Earlier this month, Swoopes appeared on former NBA star Gilbert Arenas‘ podcast and erroneously suggested that Clark had an unfair advantage against opponents as she chased the all-time points record in the collegiate women’s game. Swoopes acknowledged mistakenly saying that Clark had already used her COVID-19 extra year of eligibility, but anger and hurt feelings remained — especially within the Iowa fanbase.

In order to finally put an end to the controversy, Swoopes sought help from an outside source to reach out to Clark and move past her ill-fated podcast appearance. That intermediary was one of Clark’s NCAA rivals — and someone who herself is no stranger to controversy.

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Swoopes apologizes…with Reese’s help

During Sunday’s broadcast of the Baylor – Texas Tech game, Swoopes revealed that she made contact with LSU Tigers forward Angel Reese in a bid to chat with Clark. Reese, acting as mediator, effectively facilitated the eventual conversation between Clark and Swoopes, who was a four-time WNBA champion and a three-time league MVP during her playing career.

Honestly, a couple of weeks ago I reached out to Angel and had a really good conversation with Angel over the phone and sent a message to Caitlin,” Swoopes said. “And she responded. She and I went back and forth. I won’t share what she said, I’ll leave that to her if she wants to share.”

Reese’s role in cooling this war of words may surprise some who only see the player’s braggadocio and the combativeness. It appears as if that perception does not match reality, as Reese has garnered enough respect and gravitas to be trusted as Swoopes’ sounding board, as well as someone who could bridge the divide between these two icons of the sport.

“Have nothing but respect for what she has done for the game,” Swoopes said about Clark. “And, you know, if she wants to share what her response was and how that conversation went I’ll leave that to her. But it was a really good conversation.”

Next stop: March

With this distraction now in the rearview, the next order of business for Clark’s Hawkeyes and for Reese’s Tigers is to put their teams in the best position possible for a run in the NCAA Tournament next month — and a potential rematch in the National Championship Game on April 7.

LSU has bounced back strongly since an upset loss against Mississippi State at the end of January. The Tigers have won three in a row — all by at least 19 points — and Reese has averaged 18.7 points as well as 15 rebounds per game over that stretch. The 13th-ranked Tigers boast a 22-4 record and appear headed for a three- or four-seed in the Tournament.

Iowa has tough games remaining — such as a road matchup against 14th-ranked Indiana and a showdown with #2 Ohio State to end the regular season — and four losses already this season have put the Hawkeyes on the bubble between snagging a #1 seed or a #2 seed in the Tournament. But there’s little doubting Clark’s motivation to return to the title game and cap her collegiate career with a championship — and if she does not, she could easily come back to school and try one last time in 2025.

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