The LSU Tigers, reigning champions of women’s college basketball, found themselves without their star player, Angel Reese, in their recent game. The No. 7 Tigers secured a victory against Southeastern Louisiana, winning 73-50, but Reese was conspicuously absent from the lineup.
LSU’s Angel Reese Sidelined in Uniform Controversy as Kim Mulkey’s Decision
This absence follows Reese’s benching in the second half of LSU’s previous game against Kent State, which ended in a resounding 109-79 victory for the Lady Tigers. Coach Kim Mulkey provided little explanation for this decision, simply stating, “You want me to explain why? It’s very obvious Angel was not in uniform. Angel is a part of this basketball team, and we hope to see her sooner than later.” Reese, a unanimous first-team All-American, had contributed 11 points and five rebounds in that game, despite spending just over 13 minutes on the court during the first half.
"You want me to explain why? It's very obvious Angel was not in uniform. Angel is a part of this basketball team and we hope to see her sooner rather than later."@LSUwbkb Kim Mulkey on Angel Reese not attending Friday's game at Southeastern. #LSU @WAFB pic.twitter.com/d2JP5J6mRU
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) November 18, 2023
When questioned about Reese’s status for the next game and the potential participation of Kateri Poole, who was benched for the entirety of the Kent State game, Mulkey cryptically replied, “You better get a ticket and see.” The lack of transparency surrounding these decisions has left fans and reporters speculating about the reasons behind Mulkey’s actions.
The absence of Reese and the benching of key players are the latest developments in what seems to be a challenging title defense for LSU. While the team has started the season with wins, the competition faced thus far has been relatively weak. Mulkey has voiced concerns about the team’s defense, particularly emphasizing the lack of energy and effort displayed by the players. She has also attributed the loss to Colorado to the performance of certain returning players, expressing disappointment in their toughness, fight, and leadership.
Looking ahead, LSU’s schedule includes notable matchups against the undefeated Virginia team on November 25 as part of the Cayman Islands Challenge. On November 30, they will host No. 9 Virginia Tech as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge. These upcoming games will test the Tigers’ mettle and provide a clearer picture of their ability to defend their title.
As the LSU Tigers continue their journey to defend their women’s college basketball championship, the absence of Angel Reese and the coach’s decision to bench key players have raised eyebrows.
Coach Kim Mulkey’s enigmatic responses have only added to the intrigue surrounding these decisions. With challenging matchups on the horizon, LSU will need to address their defensive concerns and regain their winning form to maintain their status as reigning champions.