all scores

What LSU coach Kim Mulkey has said about Angel Reese’s absence

Kim Mulkey talks with Angel Reese during LSU's national championship game against Iowa in April 2023. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Angel Reese was once again absent from the sidelines as LSU basketball took down Texas Southern, 106-47, on Monday night.

The senior star missed her second straight game for the Tigers after being benched in the second half of the last Tuesday’s win against Kent State. After that game, Mulkey called Reese’s benching “a coach’s decision.”

Following her benching, Reese did not appear at LSU’s game against Southeastern Louisiana on Friday.

“Angel is a part of this basketball team and we hope to see her sooner than later. … That’s all y’all need to know,” Mulkey said in her postgame press conference.

On Monday, Mulkey sang the same tune, even asking the reporter who asked about Reese if he was present at Friday’s press conference.

“I’m gonna give you the same answer as the other day,” she said.

“I’ll say it again: Angel was not in uniform. Angel is a part of this basketball team,” Mulkey continued. “And Angel will be back sooner than later.”

And when asked if she had decided whether Reese would make the trip to the Cayman Islands Classic with the team over the Thanksgiving holiday, she responded: “If I have, I wouldn’t tell you. You’re not entitled to that information.”

“We hope she’s back with the team soon,” she said later on. “I’m not going to answer any more than that. … Sometimes you want to know more than you’re entitled to know. I’m going to protect my players.”

On Sunday, Reese posted on social media, writing: “Please don’t believe everything you read.” The message seemingly was directed at online chatter surrounding her absence.

She also posted a video on her Instagram Stories of Colorado coach Deion Sanders, in which Sanders says: “Look at me. What about me would make you think that I care about your opinion of me? Your opinion of me is not the opinion that I have of myself. You ain’t make me, so you can’t break me. You didn’t build me, so you can’t kill me.”

It’s unclear exactly what is going on with Reese, as Mulkey has not provided any specifics. Certain possible violations, such as academic ineligibility, would have to be protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which grants students the right to privacy over their academic records.

Dating back to last season, Reese has been a key presence for the Tigers. This season, she leads the team in rebounds, averaging 10.2 per game. She’s also among the team’s top scorers, averaging 17.0 points per game.

Last season, she was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after leading LSU to its first national championship.

There doesn’t appear to be a timetable for Reese’s return. No. 7 LSU is set to travel to the Cayman Islands, where the Tigers will face Niagara on Friday and Virginia on Saturday. They’re set to play No. 9 Virginia Tech on Nov. 30.