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Maryland women’s basketball’s Angel Reese excels on the court and uses music as motivation

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The forward/guard also shares her love of music with her teammates in the locker room before games.

Indiana v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

In the mid to late 2000s on Sunday mornings, Maryland women’s basketball’s standout forward/guard Angel Reese would hear a particular genre of music signaling it was time for her to start to clean: R&B.

Reese’s mother and namesake, Angel Reese, played iconic hits from the likes of Keyshia Cole and Mariah Carey. The St. Frances product developed a love for music, as she and her younger brother Julian Reese, who is a freshman on the Maryland men’s basketball team, would help clean the house to the soundtracks.

“That’s where I got it from,” Reese said. “When it’s cleaning on Sunday, she would turn the music on and you would already know that it is time to clean.”

As she arranged her bedroom and cleaned the bathroom, Reese would do so while listening to Cole’s 2009 hit song “Heaven Sent” and Carey’s popular “Shake It Off.”

Although the 6-foot-3 self-proclaimed “big guard,” may have a different go-to playlist these days, she still uses music for motivation while cleaning her dorm room and before stepping onto the court. Reese also will use the lyrics as captions for pictures on social media.

Now, as she cleans her dorm in College Park, Reese listens to R&B artists Summer Walker and Jhene Aiko.

With a smile as bright as her future, Reese also listens to the lyrics of Chicago hip hop artist Polo G’s 2019 motivational track “Chosen 1.” One line that sticks out to her from that track is “I flex with no regrets ‘cause they ain’t show me no sympathy.”

She also finds meaning in Atlanta artists Young Thug and Gunna’s 2021 song “Recognize Real.” Reese found inspiration in the lyrics “Had to gamble my life, rollin’ the dice, my name got a price, but talk to me nice.”

The talented lefty takes pride in her name, especially her nickname “Big Ticket.” She received the nickname in Baltimore because she was the player everyone clamored to see play.

Fast forward to today, Reese is performing like the star she was originally projected to be since joining the program as a five-star recruit before the 2020-21 season. She’s taken a major leap as a sophomore, leading Maryland with 17.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

As the highest-ranked incoming Terp in program history, Reese is still the player that people will keep an eye out for when she steps out onto the court. But before the Terps’ star shows what she can do on the floor, she gets into the mindset with music.

While preparing to face the next opponent on Maryland’s schedule, the First Team All-Big Ten selection and AP Third Team All-American has a unique setup to the way in which she listens to the rhythmic beats and lyrics that motivate her.

Reese first inserts her AirPod Pros then puts her black Beats By Dre wireless studio earphones directly over her ears to drain out the outside noise and to enjoy her music.

“I didn’t know you could play them at the same time,” Reese admitted jokingly referring to her AirPod-headphone combination. “So I literally can’t hear anything, but my music.”

However, Reese doesn’t save all the music for herself.

Junior guard Ashley Owusu and graduate forward Chloe Bibby have seen her love for music, especially in the locker room, as she is unofficially the team DJ.

“Angel usually plays the music in the locker room and I like it,” Owusu said. “We just rock out to it.”

Even her teammates who don’t use music as part of their pregame rituals enjoy it when Reese plays songs for the team in the locker room.

“I don’t really listen to music before games, but I know Angel and Faith [Masonius] usually get the AUX cord and get a good mix going,” graduate forward Chloe Bibby said.


Other than cleaning her dorm room, Reese has been outstanding with cleaning the boards. This season, she has recorded 17 double-doubles and ranks second in the country in offensive rebounds with 5.5 per contest.

Reese possesses a unique skill set, with the ability to guard all five positions and can play with or without the basketball being predominantly in her hands, which features pink nail polish that stands out just as much as her skill does on the court.

“I’m a big guard that can play all five positions, can guard all five positions,” Reese said.

After her freshman season was limited by a foot injury, Reese has consistently shown why she is one of the best players in the country.

But before heading to the Xfinity Center or an opposing gym, you’ll see Reese’s Beats By Dre headphones over her head as she listens to her current playlist.

Reese’s pregame playlist consists of:

  • Lil Baby & Lil Durk – “Okay”
  • Gunna – “pushin P”
  • Young Thug feat. Gunna – “Recognize Real”
  • Young Thug – “Road Rage”
  • Kodak Black – “Super Gremlin”
  • King Von featuring 21 Savage – “Don’t Play That”
  • Rylo Rodriguez — “Set Me Free”
  • Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Baby — “Do We Have A Problem?”
  • Gunna — “25k jacket”
  • NoCap — “Unwanted Lifestyle”
  • Gunna — “livin wild”

March is here and without a doubt, Reese’s music will continue to be important to her as she looks to bring a national championship back to College Park for the first time since 2006.