Sky's Angel Reese plays down Alyssa Thomas' flagrant foul 2

Sky's Angel Reese plays down Alyssa Thomas' flagrant foul 2

ByALEXA PHILIPPOU

May 26, 2024, 12:29 AM

    Connecticut Sun star Alyssa Thomas was ejected late in the third quarter of Saturday night's 86-82 win over the Chicago Sky after being assessed a flagrant foul 2 on rookie Angel Reese.

    Thomas and Reese were battling down low for a rebound when Thomas extended her arm into Reese's neck, causing Reese to take a hard fall.

    After the play was reviewed, Thomas, who came in second in MVP voting last season, received the first flagrant foul 2 of her career and the eighth flagrant of any kind, tied for second-most in league history. She left with nine points, six assists and six rebounds.

    Reese, the No. 7 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, finished 13 points and five rebounds.

    "It was a physical game out there," Sun center Brionna Jones said. "I think it was a little out of hand at the beginning, which led into that. But we got to play through it, play through adversity, and we did and came out with the win."

    Before the game, Reese told reporters how much she admires Thomas, who played at Maryland, where Reese began her college career before transferring to LSU.

    Afterward, Reese said her opinion of Thomas was the same and that that were "no hard feelings." She said she didn't think Thomas' foul was deliberate.

    "Just being able to come out there and just be strong and stand on two feet," Reese said. "I mean, it was gonna be a tough game, and that's what I'm built for. And my teammates had my back throughout the whole game, so I was prepared for it."

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    Asked if she felt Thomas was trying to send a message from a veteran to a rookie, Reese said, "It's not just because I'm a rookie. I'm a player. And I'm a basketball player. They don't give a damn if I'm a rookie."

    The Sun's DiJonai Carrington also bristled at that characterization, saying it's more of a narrative for the media.

    "I mean, I want them to come at me every day," Reese said. "I want them to come at everybody. I mean, they're not supposed to be nice to me. I hope y'all know that. They're not supposed to be nice to me or lay down because I'm Angel Reese or because I'm a rookie. Like, thank you, AT, for sending the message to me, because I got back up and I kept going and kept pushing.

    "Me and AT have been cool since we were at Maryland, so I know it's not no hard feelings and I appreciate her for going at me today."

    Added Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon: "That's who [Reese] is. She loves this game and she takes on every challenge that I put before her. We know that she's a rookie, but she's a player. She wants to compete. She wants to compete against the best. And when you compete against those who have been here, know how good they are, all it's going to do is help you to grow.... She wants it. She loves it. She enjoys it, just like every other player on this team."

    The Sun improved to 5-0 with Saturday's win, while the Sky, hosting their first home game of the season, fell to 2-2.

    With her team overcoming a 10-point first-half deficit and early shooting struggles, and then the absence of Thomas, Sun coach Stephanie White called the win a "gutsy performance" from her group.

    "We've got a team that's built to withstand," White said. "Certainly, you don't want to have your MVP off the floor, but everybody stepped up. And for us to be successful, that's what it's going to take."

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