LSU’s Angel Reese is absent for the second straight game

LSU’s Angel Reese is absent for the second straight game

Katie BarnesESPN.comNovember 20, 2023 at 08:27 PM ET3 minutes to read

Kim Mulkey dodges questions about Angel Reese’s absence

LSU coach Kim Mulkey refuses to discuss Angel Reese’s absence from the starting lineup Friday night.

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey declined to offer an explanation for Angel Reese’s absence after the star missed her second straight game Monday, a 106-47 home win over Texas Southern.

“You always have to deal with locker room issues,” Mulkey said in a post-game news conference. “Sometimes you don’t know anything about it. And sometimes you want to know more than you have the right to know. I will always protect my players. They are more important.”

Mulkey did not provide a timetable for Reese’s return.

The No. 7 Tigers travel to the Cayman Islands on Wednesday for back-to-back games against Niagara and Virginia on Friday and Saturday.

Mulkey was asked if she had decided whether Reese would make the trip.

“If I had, I wouldn’t tell you, okay?” She said. “You are not entitled to this information.”

Five Tigers scored in double figures in Reese’s absence on Monday, led by Anissa Morrow and Flojay Johnson with 17 points each. Hailey Van Lith added 16 points and Aaliyah Del Rosario added 14 points off the bench.

After the Tigers’ season opener, a 92-78 loss to then-No. On Colorado 20 in Las Vegas, Mulkey expressed his disappointment in some of the performances but did not single out anyone.

“I’m disappointed with some of the individual players who I thought would be tougher, have a little more fight and drive about them,” she said.

Reese was on the bench for the first half of the Tigers’ fourth game of the season, a 109-79 win over Kent State, in what Mulkey called a “coach’s decision.” Reese did not play at all in LSU’s 73-50 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Friday.

“Angel wasn’t wearing a uniform,” Mulkey said after the match in Hammond, Louisiana. “Angel is a part of this basketball team, and we hope to see her sooner rather than later.”

Reese has not spoken about her absence publicly, but she posted on social media, “Please don’t believe everything you read.”

Reese transferred to LSU from Maryland prior to the 2022-23 season, when she was named Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Tournament. This season, she averaged 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in four games.

LSU added several high-profile transfers this offseason, including Morrow and Van Lith. The Tigers also had their top-ranked recruiting class.

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