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Angel Reese remains away from LSU women's basketball. Kim Mulkey says she will 'protect her players'

BATON ROUGE — Angel Reese remains away from No. 7 LSU women's basketball and the timeline of her return to the team remains unclear.

For the second straight game, the Tigers star junior forward was not with the team Monday night. And for the second straight game, LSU had no problem without Reese in the lineup, boat-racing Texas Southern, 106-47.

Tigers coach Kim Mulkey was asked about Reese's absence again following the Tigers' win over TSU and yet again, she declined to share any specifics.

"I'm going to get you the same answer. Angel was not in uniform tonight and Angel is a part of this basketball team," Mulkey said. "Angel will be back sooner than later."

Mulkey was asked if Reese would be rejoining the team for its upcoming trip to the Cayman Islands where LSU has two games on tap, she told reporters they're, "not entitled to know."

Reese's absence so soon into the season has captured the attention of those who follow women's college basketball, as well as passers-by. She played an integral role in LSU's improbable run to the NCAA championship, where the Tigers knocked off fellow star player in Caitlin Clark and Iowa in Dallas.

Her waving her hand like John Cena's "You Can't See Me" gesture in front of Clark's face in the waning seconds of the title game became a major sports story, catching on like wildfire.

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Reese was considered a preseason All-American-cailber player for LSU heading into the season but her performance hasn't quite been what everyone expected, averaging 17 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Mulkey did go a bit further Monday and stated that every season, coaches deal with locker room issues.

"That's just part of coaching. In 40 years, I can't ever think of a time where I didn't have to deal with issues," Mulkey said. "Sometimes y'all know about them and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you want to know more than you are entitled to know.

"I'm going to protect my players, always. They are more important. That's a family in that locker room. That's a family. It really doesn't matter what I say to you guys, you write and interpret things to way you want to. Some of you wrote some things I never said. I never used some of the words some of y'all wrote. Just write what I tell you. This is no different. Those kids are like my children, and I'm not going to tell you what you don't need to know. That's just the way I address things."

Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at bdiaz@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Kim Mulkey on Angel Reese saga: 'I'm always going to protect my players'