Angel Reese not with LSU for latest game after Kim Mulkey benching as drama continues

The LSU Tigers, the national champions of women’s collegiate basketball in 2022-23, were missing their greatest player, Angel Reese, on Friday night.

The No. 7 Tigers, who were shocked by No. 20 Colorado in their season opener 11 days ago, defeated Southeastern Louisiana 73-50 on Friday without Reese.

This follows Reese’s second-half benching during LSU’s 109-79 victory over Kent State on Tuesday night.

Following Friday’s victory, head coach Kim Mulkey addressed the problem, but provided no explanation for the decision.

“Do you want me to explain why?” “It’s very clear Angel was not in uniform,” Mulkey told reporters. “Angel is a part of this basketball team and we hope to see her sooner than later.”

The unanimous first-team All-American concluded Tuesday’s game with 11 points and five rebounds, despite playing barely more than 13 minutes in the first half.

“Do you want me to explain why?” Angel was obviously not in uniform. Angel is on this basketball team, and we expect to meet her sooner rather than later.”@LSUwbkb Kim Mulkey discusses Angel Reese’s decision not to attend Friday’s game at Southeastern. #LSU @WAFB pic.twitter.com/d2JP5J6mRU.

— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet), November 18, 2023.
Mulkey called Reese’s halftime benching, when the Lady Tigers led Kent State 39-37 before pulling away in the remaining 20 minutes, a “coach’s decision.”

When asked Thursday if Reese would start Friday — and if Brooklyn native and South Shore High School alum Kateri Poole would play after sitting out the whole Kent State game — Mulkey said, “You better get a ticket and see,” according to ESPN.

Friday’s development is the latest in what has appeared to be a rocky title defense for LSU, albeit the squad is off to a good start, although against lesser opposition thus far.

Mulkey has expressed concerns about the team’s defense, specifically its intensity and effort, according to ESPN.

Mulkey previously attributed the loss to Colorado on roster returns, saying, “Some individual players who I thought would be tougher, have a little fight and some leadership about them,” she added.

The Tigers will not look to be substantially challenged in this stretch of their schedule, but they do face 3-0 Virginia on Nov. 25 as part of the Cayman Islands Challenge, and No. 9 Virginia Tech on Nov. 30 as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge.

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