BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey declined to explain the absence of Angel Reese after the star forward missed her second straight game in Monday’s 106-47 win over Texas Southern.
“You always deal with issues in the locker room,” Mulkey said in a postgame news conference. “Sometimes you don’t know about it. Sometimes you want to know more than you have a right to know. I’ll protect my players, always. They’re more important.”
Mulkey did not give a timetable for Reese’s return.
The No. 7 Tigers travel to the Cayman Islands this Wednesday for back-to-back games against Niagara and Virginia on Friday and Saturday.
Mulkey was asked if he had decided whether Reese would travel.
“If I have, you won’t tell me, OK?” he said. “You have no right to that information.”
Five Tigers scored in double figures in Reese’s absence on Monday, led by Aneesah Morrow and Flau’jae Johnson with 17 points each. Hailey Van Lith added 16 points and Aalyah Del Rosario scored 14 off the bench.
After the Tigers’ season opener, a 92-78 loss to No. 20 Colorado in Las Vegas, Mulkey expressed disappointment in some performances but not one person.
“I was disappointed with some individual players who I thought were tougher, had a bit more fight and leadership about them,” he 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 in LSU’s 73-50 win over Southeast Louisiana on Friday.
“Angel is not in uniform,” Mulkey said after the game in Hammond, Louisiana. “Angel is a part of this basketball team, and we hope to see him soon.”
Reese has not discussed her disappearance publicly, but posted on social media, “Please don’t believe everything you read.”
Reese transferred to LSU from Maryland before the 2022-23 season, when he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament. This season, he averaged 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in four games.
LSU added several high-profile transfers in the offseason, including Morrow and Van Lith. The Tigers also got the top-ranked recruiting class.