Key Member of National Championship Squad Not With the Team, LSU Coach Kim Mulkey Says
BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey confirmed the status of national championship star Angel Reese on Wednesday as the team prepares for a match-up against Virginia Tech. However, there are two players we won't be seeing on the court for the rest of the season.
In the update provided Wednesday afternoon, Mulkey did confirm that Reese would be playing Thursday night. However, Sa'Myah Smith is out for the rest of the season after a major injury cut the year short for her.
Meanwhile, Kateri Poole is not currently with the team, the coach said.
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Kateri Poole is not with the LSU women's basketball team, Kim Mulkey said Wednesday.
Poole, a junior guard from Bronx, New York, did not make the trip with the team for its two games in the Cayman Islands Classic. This season, she has played in only four of LSU's eight games.
Poole was a major contributor in the National Championship run the Lady Tigers made last season. She moved up to starter at the start of the NCAA tournament and was a key defensive player who also was able to knock down shots.
However, she's seen little playing time so far this year.
On Nov. 14, Poole didn't see the floor in the Tigers' win over Kent State, an absence Mulkey called a "coach's decision." Then, she logged five minutes in their next game against Southeastern before sitting the entirety of the following contest, a 106-47 win over Texas Southern.
On Wednesday, Mulkey declined say if, or when, Poole will return to the team.
The absence is reminiscent of the recent absent of Reese, who has not been seen on the court much this year. Mulkey was silent on her absence, only referring to "locker room issues" as the cause.
"You always have to deal with locker room issues," she said after the team's win against Texas Southern. "That's just part of coaching. In 40 years, I can never think of a time where I didn't have to deal with issues. That's what coaches do."
Smith, meanwhile, will miss the remainder of the season after an MRI confirmed she has a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus in her right knee.
"I always say timing is everything in life," Mulkey said. "And the timing of her injury is just so sad for her because she has improved by leaps and bounds. She stayed here all summer."
The LSU Tigers will take on Virginia Tech Thursday night. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.