Angel Reese shares her message to Flau'jae Johnson after Iowa loss

On3 imageby:Chandler Vessels04/02/24

ChandlerVessels

Nothing is official yet, but Angel Reese could be passing her role as leader of LSU on to Flau’jae Johnson. The Tigers lost 94-87 at the hands of Iowa in the Elite Eight, ending their season and putting the spotlight on Reese’s future.

The three-time All-American and 2023 national champion could forgo a fifth year of eligibility to jump straight to the pros but hasn’t made her decision yet. After fouling out in the final moments of Monday’s loss to the Hawkeyes, Reese could be seen with her arm around Johnson and delivered a message that a few words of encouragement.

“Just telling her just to keep leading the team and don’t give up and keep fighting,” Reese said postgame. “Flau’jae has done a great job when I’m down and not having my best game. Being able to have a player, a teammate like Flau’jae as a sophomore, only a sophomore, step up and lead the team through everything. She’s led the team throughout the whole year. We’ve had that relationship, and just being able to talk to her in that moment was great.”

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Reese has been the unequivocal leader for LSU over the past two years, averaging 20.9 points and 14.4 rebounds across her two seasons. She did everything she could in the loss to finish 17 points, 20 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Johnson actually led the Tigers with 23 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and three blocks on her own. It was a testament to the step forward she took from her first to second college season as she average 14.9 points to rank third on the team.

LSU knows it will get Johnson back for next season as she is not yet eligible to enter the WNBA Draft. She already vowed after the loss to be back better in 2024-25. If Reese decided to join her, LSU would likely enter as one of the favorites to compete for another national championship.

Reese will have less than two days to enter her name in the WNBA Draft, which is set to take place on April 15 in New York. She is currently projected as the No. 7 overall pick according to ESPN.

But regardless of whether Reese decides to run it back or not, Johnson has learned enough to keep the program in good hands as they aim for another deep run in 2024-25.