Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese has been one of the most impressive WNBA rookies this season, and she credits her early success to her time with the LSU Tigers and her former head coach. 

"Kim Mulkey kind of prepared me for this moment," Reese said in an interview with CBS Sports HQ. "At LSU, our practice was like four hours. We were ready, we were working. I thought training was going to be harder. I think I was really prepared. I didn't have any WNBA surprises yet."

Reese transferred from Maryland to LSU in 2022, a year after Mulkey took over the program following a successful 21-year career at Baylor. In 2023, the Mulkey and Reese duo led the Tigers to their first NCAA college basketball title in a season in which Reese set an NCAA single-season record of 34 double-doubles.

The championship ring earned the praise of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, who said Reese is the greatest athlete ever to come out of LSU sports -- above himself and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Meanwhile, that trophy helped Mulkey become the first women's coach in NCAA Division I history to win a title at two different programs. Although the Tigers were not able to repeat, they still made it to the Elite Eight in the 2023-24 season.

Reese, the 7th overall pick of this year's draft, made a name for herself in college but the reset button was pushed when she turned pro.

"I think l've had a lot 'welcome to the WNBA' moments... I was getting cooked the first game, I'm not gonna lie," she said. 

Reese has done a good job learning from her early struggles and is currently averaging 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.9 steals per game. She has already picked up four double-double through her first 10 games and recently became the first WNBA player this season to register consecutive double-doubles with five-plus steals.

Although she has scored in double digits eight times already, her field goal percentage is only at 34.6%. That's a key area Reese wants to address, but the first step to getting better is acknowledging her own strengths and weaknesses. 

"Honestly I think the speed is actually faster, of course. But for me, coming into the league I know defense and rebounds are something I always can take to the next level," Reese said. "I knew that was going to be my thing. I think I've done a great job being great on defense and rebounding. I think I have a lot more room for growth offensively but I think I've done a great job so far."

Last Friday, Mulkey was in attendance when the Sky took a 79-71 win against the Washington Mystics. At the buzzer, Reese went straight after her former coach to give her a hug.

"It was tough for me to leave LSU, but she talked to (head coach Teresa Weatherspoon) and she trusted T-Spoon with me. She knows it's the same. (Weatherspoon) expects a lot out of me..." Reese said after the game. "I'm just happy Mulkey loves me, supports me. I want people to realize Kim Mulkey loves you off the court too and she'll support you no matter what. She is like a mother to me."