LSU star Angel Reese was not with the team Friday as the Tigers claimed a 73-50 victory over Southeastern Louisiana. Reese was benched during the second half of the previous game, a move coach Kim Mulkey described as a “coach’s decision.”
No further details have been released on the situation, but on Sunday Reese shared a simple message on social media.
“Please don’t believe everything you read,” Reese wrote.
Rumors about Reese’s standing with the team sent social media abuzz Friday when she didn’t make trip to the Pride Roofing University Center, and Mulkey’s explanation seemed to fan the flames.
“You want me to explain why? It was very obvious Angel was not in uniform,” Mulkey said during the postgame press conference. “Angel is a part of this basketball team and we hope to see her sooner than later. I’m not going to answer anymore. That’s it. That’s all y’all need to know.”
Reese led LSU in scoring and rebounding last season, when the Tigers won the school’s first-ever basketball national title. LSU then opened the 2023-24 season ranked No. 1 after adding the top recruiting class of 2023 as well as former Louisville star Hailey Van Lith. However, the supposed superteam was, becoming the first reigning champion to lose a season opener since 1995.
“I’m disappointed and surprised in some individual players that I thought would just be tougher and have a little fight and leadership about them,” Mulkey said after that game, but did not name any particular player.
The Tigers have beaten all their other opponents — none of which were ranked in the top 25 — but it seems there is some trouble in paradise.
Tuesday against Kent State, a team that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2002, the Tigers had a slow start and only had a two-point lead at halftime. Reese was benched after the halftime break, and junior guard Kateri Poole did not play at all. LSU got it together and walked away with a 109-79 win, but fans were left wondering about Mulkey’s decision.
The coach didn’t explain much further, nor did she say who would be playing against Southeastern Louisiana. Poole did make an appearance on Friday, but Reese was nowhere to be found.