LSU star Angel Reese formally declared for the WNBA draft lower than two days after the Tigers’ season ended with a loss to Caitlin Clark and Iowa within the Elite Eight spherical of the ladies’s NCAA Tournament.

LSU ahead Angel Reese (10) drives round Iowa ahead Addison O’Grady (44) in the course of the fourth quarter of an Elite Eight spherical school basketball recreation in the course of the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)(AP/Mary Altaffer)

Bayou Barbie is WNBA sure.

LSU star Angel Reese, who is thought for her eyelash extensions, painted nails and ferocious play within the paint, formally declared for the WNBA draft two days after the Tigers’ season ended with a loss to Caitlin Clark and Iowa within the Elite Eight spherical of the ladies’s NCAA Tournament.

Reese, who has expressed an curiosity in working in style and modeling, made her announcement Wednesday by way of a photo shoot in Vogue, saying she was impressed by tennis nice Serena Williams asserting her retirement in 2022 in an identical method.

Reese, who publicly had left open the choice of returning for one more yr at LSU, acknowledged having made up her thoughts to show professional earlier than March Madness started.

“Of course, I love to do every little thing massive,” Reese instructed the journal. “I didn’t need something to be primary.”

“I’ve achieved every little thing I needed to in school,” added Reese, who additionally has expressed curiosity in taking part in professionally in Europe in the course of the WNBA offseason. “I’ve gained a nationwide championship, I’ve gotten (Southeastern Conference) Player of the Year, I’ve been an All-American. My final objective is to be a professional — and to be one of many biggest basketball gamers to play, ever. I really feel like I’m prepared.”

Reese, a dynamic, 6-foot-3 ahead who can run the ground, guard the perimeter and block pictures wherever, doubtless will be part of Clark, the anticipated No. 1 choose by Indiana, as one of many high gamers drafted on April 15. Draft analysts have projected Reese as a seventh or eighth general selection. An undeveloped exterior shot is among the many few questions on her recreation as she leaves school.

Reese grew up in Baltimore and commenced her school profession at Maryland, the place her brother, Julian, performs for the lads’s group. She transferred to LSU in 2022 and the Tigers gained this system’s solely nationwide title in Reese’s first season.

“She helped remodel our program,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey stated. “We are all indebted to Angel Reese for the contributions she has given to this program, serving to us win our first National Championship, and the contributions she made on our college as an entire.”

Reese registered 61 double-doubles for the Tigers in two seasons. Only Sylvia Fowles had extra double-doubles at LSU.

Reese averaged 20.9 factors and 14.4 rebounds per recreation at LSU, together with seven video games with at the very least 20 factors and 20 rebounds. Reese turned the primary SEC participant since Vanderbilt’s Wendy Scholtens in 1989 and 1990 to steer the league in each scoring and rebounding in consecutive seasons.

This season, Reese was named the SEC Player of the Year. Reese has performed 4 school seasons however was amongst these athletes granted an extra yr of eligibility by the NCAA as a result of their careers overlapped with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When she got here right here, she stated she needed to be right here for 2 seasons and he or she has lived as much as that,” Mukley stated. “What a exceptional two years it has been.

“She not solely helped develop our program however had an impression on rising the sport of girls’s basketball throughout the nation,” Mulkey added. “We want her good luck as she strikes to the WNBA and stay up for see all that she accomplishes.”

Reese burst onto the scene throughout LSU’s championship run final yr as a particularly gifted basketball participant and dynamic character — accessible and interesting with followers and media off the courtroom, and trash talking within the faces of her opponents on it. Reese grew up taking part in basketball together with her brother and different boys in Baltimore, and he or she has stated that compelled her to change into bodily and mentally powerful on the courtroom.

She is called “the Queen” amongst teammates, and he or she could be topped by a teammate with a tiara throughout pregame introductions.

Since successful the title, Reese stated there was elevated scrutiny of her, however she maintained that she would proceed to be “unapologetically me.”

Her teammates defended her management and what she’s been via, together with a time earlier this season when she was suspended by Mulkey for 4 video games proper earlier than Thanksgiving — time that she used to take a self-described psychological well being break.

“Everybody can have their opinion on Angel Reese, however y’all don’t know her,” Flau’jae Johnson stated. “I do know the actual Angel Reese, and the individual I see on daily basis is a powerful individual, is a caring, loving individual. But the crown she wears is heavy. She’s the kind of teammate that’s going to make you imagine in your self.”

Players not competing within the Elite Eight had till Monday to resign their remaining eligibility. Players like Reese, who had been competing within the Elite Eight or past, had about 48 hours after their remaining recreation to make their determination.

In what was her remaining school recreation, Reese injured her ankle within the second quarter in opposition to Iowa and nonetheless completed with 17 factors and 20 rebounds earlier than fouling out within the remaining two minutes of the sport.

Reese was one of many high NIL earners in school with a valuation of $1.8 million according toOn3.com. Many of these offers may now change into the kind of endorsements on which skilled athletes sometimes money in.

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AP Sports Writer Mark Long contributed to this report.

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