Angel Reese confusion grows with silent decision for LSU vs Texas Southern game

LSU remained tight-lipped about Angel Reese’s status for Monday night’s game against Texas Southern, and the confusion around the exiled star forward has continued into the new week

LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese was left home for a second consecutive game, not appearing at Pete Maravich Assembly Center for Monday’s 106-47 win over Texas Southern.

The Tigers have withheld information about why Reese is out. She was benched for the second half against Kent State last week before staying away from the squad altogether for a Friday contest against Southeastern Louisiana.

After the blowout victory Monday night, head coach Kim Mulkey again declined to explain the situation in detail. When asked by a reporter whether Reese has been practicing – which would help clear up the nature of her ban – Mulkey paused before giving a similar non-response to the one she provided last Friday.

“I’m gonna give you the same answer I gave the other night,” Mulkey said. “If I have [decided when she’ll return], I wouldn’t tell you. You’re not entitled to that information. OK? So I’ll say it again. Angel was not in uniform tonight. Angel is a part of this basketball team. And Angel will be back sooner than later.”

When pressed further, Mulkey added: “You always have to deal with locker room issues. That’s just part of coaching. In 40 years I can never think of a time where I didn’t have to deal with issues. That’s what coaches do. Sometimes y’all know about them and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you want to know more than you’re entitled to know.

“I’m going to protect my players. Always. It’s like a family. Let me ask you this: If you do some disciplining of your own children, do you think we’re entitled to know that? That’s a family in that locker room.”

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Transfer Hailey Van Lith and the rest of Angel Reese's LSU teammates will try to fill the scoring and rebounding voids left by a likely WNBA first-round draft pick.
Transfer Hailey Van Lith and the rest of Angel Reese’s LSU teammates will try to fill the scoring and rebounding voids left by a likely WNBA first-round draft pick. 
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LSU’s athletic department has not responded to multiple requests from Mirror Sports US for further comment. Its silence has led to rampant speculation on social media about what’s happening, prompting Reese this weekend to tell fans, “please don’t believe everything you read.”

Following the prior Southeastern Louisiana game, Mulkey had said: “You want me to explain why [she wasn’t here]? It was very obvious Angel was not in uniform. Angel is a part of this basketball team and we hope to see her sooner than later. I’m not going to answer anymore. That’s it. That’s all y’all need to know.”

With Reese not available on Monday, LSU started Hailey Van Lith, Flau’jae Johnson, Mikaylah Williams, Aneesah Morrow and Sa’Myah Smith.

The Tigers, who just dropped behind UConn in the top-25 rankings, are looking to restore calm after losing their season opener to Colorado and one of their best players to unknown reasons. They easily took down an overmatched Texas Southern, with five players hitting double figures in scoring.

Reese has said little publicly over the past week. The Baltimore native shared images of her teammates following the Kent State benching. She posted a picture without any caption of an LSU basketball court to her Instagram Stories on Saturday night. And there was the warning on X about not trusting what other people were saying about the situation.

The Most Outstanding Player of the 2022-23 NCAA Tournament has been in the spotlight since playing a lead role in LSU’s national championship run.

She’s said that the attention has put pressure on her shoulders but also provided newfound motivation to have an influence on young girls who might look up to her.

“I’ve always wanted to be one of the best players in the country, but I never knew my inspiration outside of that,” Reese told The Athletic last month. “Being able to have a voice and that getting broadcasted and just being able to be unapologetically me – I think that has helped grow another different kind of community for people who don’t always have a voice.

She added: “I speak for a platform of people that don’t feel like they can say certain things.”

The Tigers are in the middle of a run of games against opponents they’re expected to handle with ease regardless of Reese’s presence. After playing Texas Southern on Monday night, LSU will play Niagara on Friday.

Then, it’ll get more challenging for Mulkey and Co. They face Virginia this Saturday before a top-10 duel with No. 9 Virginia Tech on Nov. 30. It remains unclear whether Reese will be back by the end of the month.

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