Most Outstanding Player of the 2023 women's NCAA tournament, LSU forward Angel Reese, was absent Friday night when the Tigers traveled to Southeastern Louisiana.
Reese was benched in the second half of the Tigers' Tuesday game against Kent State, which coach Kim Mulkey called a "coach's decision." Mulkey explained why Kateri Poole, another veteran, did not play Tuesday.
Mulkey replied, "You better get a ticket and see." The question was whether Poole would play and Reese would start Friday versus Southeastern Louisiana.
The program did not discuss Reese's situation before Friday's game. After starting at Maryland, Reese is averaging 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in four games for the Tigers in her second season.
She helped LSU reach its first Final Four since 2008 and first national title by averaging 23.0 points and 15.4 rebounds and registering an NCAA single-season record 34 double-doubles.
LSU pulled in Hailey Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow, two top transfer portal names, and the top recruiting class after winning the championship, raising expectations that the Tigers might win it again in 2023-24.
The preseason No. 1 Tigers lost their season opener at Colorado, 92-78, before winning their next three by at least 30 points.