Why Kim Mulkey believes LSU freshman is ‘aggravated’ at her amid win streak. “May be she’s annoyed with me. She would never tell you that…”

Aalyah Del Rosario’s improvements have not led LSU head coach Kim Mulkey to give her more playing time, and Mulkey suggested the first-year star might be unhappy by the lack of reward

Kim Mulkey knows she's irked LSU freshman Aalyah Del Rosario.

Kim Mulkey knows she’s irked LSU freshman Aalyah Del Rosario. (
Image: Getty Images)

LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey acknowledged that reserve Aalyah Del Rosario is likely getting frustrated after another strong performance in limited minutes did not prompt a playing time bump.

In LSU’s 71-66 victory over Auburn on Thursday night, Del Rosario scored six points and grabbed two rebounds in just five minutes. Mulkey understands that the freshman may be getting antsy about her role, even as the Tigers have extended their win streak to five games.

“Her confidence is fine,” Mulkey told reporters afterward via The Advocate. “She’s probably a little aggravated at me. She would never tell you that, but she should have played more tonight.”

Del Rosario, who arrived as a highly-touted recruit, is something of a secret weapon for LSU. Lately, she’s had stretches of brilliance off the bench, bringing a rare mix of agility and size to trouble opponents.

Before the Auburn win, she had seemingly put in an effort worthy of a more prominent role. Del Rosario took over for a three-minute stretch in the second quarter of a blowout win over Texas A&M, notching a steal, multiple blocked shots and a smooth layup in transition in a short period.

Yet Mulkey reduced Del Rosario’s playing time on Thursday, a surprising enough decision that local reporters questioned it in the press conference that followed the close win.

Aalyah Del Rosario made her presence felt against Texas A&M.
Aalyah Del Rosario made her presence felt against Texas A&M. 
Image:
Getty Images)
The 6-foot-6 center is shooting 54.4 percent from the field this season. Her per-minute numbers have improved across the board since the beginning of SEC play, as she’s slashed her turnover rate in half and increased her block and rebound rates. Free throw shooting is the next frontier for the New Yorker; she’s hit only 58.6 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe in 2023-24.

Regardless of whether Mulkey gives her more responsibilities in the near future, Del Rosario can take solace in the fact that she’ll likely be a mainstay in the starting lineup next year. Star forward Angel Reese appears destined to depart for the WNBA, leaving a huge void in the Tigers front-court that Del Rosario could fill.

Reese showed off what Mulkey expects from her starting bigs against Auburn, and she’ll continue to be an essential mentor for Del Rosario. Reese played every minute, scoring 25 points and recording 20 rebounds. She said she took the game “personally” after losing to Auburn earlier in the campaign.

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“I’ve seen it the last couple of days,” Mulkey said of Reese. “Angel hadn’t forgotten our loss. And I think in practice, she’s really stepped up, and I saw it again tonight. She’s like, ‘I need the ball, I need the ball.’ And I’m like, ‘They can’t get it to you. We’re trying.’

“So, she’s just a competitor that didn’t want to lose again to the same team.”

LSU is next in action on Sunday against Tennessee before closing the regular season with contests against Georgia and Kentucky.

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