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LSU’s Reese absent again as Mulkey keeps mum

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

“You always have to deal with locker room issues,” Mulkey said in a postgame news conference. “Sometimes you don’t know about it. Sometimes you want to know more than you’re entitled to know. I’m going to protect my players, always. 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 if Reese will make the trip.

“If I have, I wouldn’t tell you, OK?” she said. “You’re not entitled to that information.”

Five Tigers scored in double figures in Reese’s absence Monday, led by Aneesah Morrow and Flau’jae Johnson with 17 points each. Hailey Van Lith added 16 points and Aalyah Del Rosario chipped in 14 off the bench.

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

“I’m disappointed in some individual players who I thought would be tougher, have a little fight and leadership about them,” she said.

Reese was benched at halftime 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 Southeast Louisiana on Friday.

“Angel was not in uniform,” Mulkey said after the game in Hammond, Louisiana. “Angel is a part of this basketball team, and we hope to see her sooner than later.”

Reese has not addressed her absence publicly, but did post on social media, “Please don’t believe everything you read.”

Reese transferred to LSU from Maryland ahead of the 2022-23 season, when she was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament. This season, she is averaging 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in four games.

LSU added multiple high-profile transfers in the offseason, including Morrow and Van Lith. The Tigers also landed the top-ranked recruiting class.

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