LSU’s Angel Reese is Back with the No. 7 Tigers after 4-Game Absence |

LSU’s Angel Reese is Back with the No. 7 Tigers after 4-Game Absence

LSU basketball star Angel Reese will rejoin the defending national champion after missing four games for undisclosed reasons.

via: AP

“She will play tomorrow,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said Wednesday. “It’s a boost having her back, period. It’s not just against Virginia Tech. It’s just for our team. She’s just a tremendous player, one of the best players in the country.

“I really think Angel will just be like Angel,” Mulkey added. “She’s just been really good in practice.”

Reese had foreshadowed her return when she posted on social media a photo of herself inside LSU’s basketball stadium, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The timing of Reese’s return is convenient for defending national champion LSU — and not just because its next game is a rematch of last season’s national semifinal. Two games ago against Niagara in the Cayman Islands Tournament, LSU power forward Sa’Maya Smith went down with a knee injury. On Wednesday, Mulkey said Smith is out for the season with ligament and meniscus tears in her right knee.

“Timing is everything in life and the timing of her injury is just so sad for her because she has improved by leaps and bounds,” Mulkey said. “The timing of Angel being back kind of helps, but there’s no substitution for the value that Sa’Maya has to our team and what she’s meant thus far.”

Mulkey has declined to go into detail about why Reese was not with the team for much of the past two weeks beyond saying it stemmed from unspecified “locker-room issues.”

But Mulkey said she expected Reese’s return to go smoothly in terms of her relationship with teammates and coaches.

“We’re past it. We were past it after it happened. Really,” Mulkey said. “It’s just fun to watch them high-five and pick each other up off the floor and just do what they do, play basketball. We’ve been past it. It’s just we have to come in here and answer questions and that becomes aggravating.”

Reese, who is one of the most popular and commercially successful players in her sport, missed games at Southeastern Louisiana and against Texas Southern in Baton Rouge before also not accompanying the team to the Cayman Islands for a holiday tournament. LSU defeated Niagara and Virginia in the Cayman Islands Classic last weekend.

Reese also was benched for the second half of a victory over Kent State on Nov. 14.

The Tigers (7-1) won all of the games Reese missed, most of them by wide margins, and have not lost since dropping their opener in Las Vegas to then-No. 20 Colorado, which briefly rose as high as No. 3 before dropping back to No. 7 — tied with LSU — after the Buffalos’ first loss to North Carolina State last weekend.

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