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Angel Reese sits out of LSU game after getting benched amid messy situation in Baton Rouge

There was a noticeably empty seat on the LSU bench Friday, which only increased the volume of questions about what’s going on with Angel Reese.

Last season’s NCAA Tournament MVP was nowhere to be seen during the Tigers’ game against Southeast Louisiana. No explanation was given for the absence before the game, and LSU head coach Kim Mulkey refused to give one afterward, according to Reed Darcey of The Lawyer

“Angel was not in uniform. Angel is on this basketball team, and we hope she returns to the team soon. I’m not going to answer more than that.”

Reese’s absence came three days after she was benched in the second half of a win over Kent State. When asked why she sat Reese and senior guard Kateri Poole, Mulkey again declined to provide details.

“I could, but I won’t,” Mulkey said. “It was just a coach’s decision.”

This benching kicked off some very public infighting for the LSU program.

It’s never a good sign when players’ parents argue on social media. Reese’s mother, Angel Webb Reese, posted a strangely pointed message about grammar, without punctuation, on her Instagram Story on Wednesday:

“Friends, please don’t send me long text messages with a bunch of grammatical errors, it gives me a headache (facepalm emoji), how do I know if you said what you said if I don’t understand what you are saying (facepalm emoji) (crying and laughing emoji)”

The apparent target of this post was Kia Brooks, mother of LSU sophomore Flau’jae Johnson, who appeared to respond with her own IG story that, among other things, claimed Reese had a “2.0 GPA or less”, accusing the elder Reese of being “petty, false and hateful and urged her to take responsibility for her and her daughter’s actions.

Players from last year’s championship team also got involved, with Alexa Morris posting a series of cryptic tweets early Thursday morning in which she appeared to take Mulkey’s side:

Jasmine Carson reportedly added “You better hope I don’t say anything” in a tweet that is currently unavailable, once again confirming that something is going on behind the scenes.

None of this sounds like a program in a particularly stable place, which is crazy to see considering all of the above players and coaches were celebrating a national championship breakthrough just a few months ago. Reese in particular has seen her star rise, seeing extensive coverage over her interaction with Caitlin Clark, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit spread, a White House drama, and an appearance in a Cardi B music video.

November 6, 2023;  Las Vegas, Nevada, United States;  LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese (10) dribbles against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first quarter at T-Mobile Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Something is happening between Angel Reese and LSU. (Stephen R. Sylvania-USA TODAY Sports) (USA TODAY USPW/Reuters)

Reese entered this season as one of the best players in the country and a potential top pick in the 2024 WNBA draft. Mulkey even praised his focus on the upcoming season despite so many offseason distractions a few months ago, but it appears something has changed since then.

LSU also experienced turmoil on the field, losing its season opener to Colorado. The Tigers currently sit at No. 7 in the AP poll.

Gn En sports

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