In Thursday’s matchup against No. 9 Virginia Tech, LSU head coach Kim Mulkey has confirmed Angel Reese will play. Mulkey announced Reese’s return to the top 10 matchup on Wednesday but didn’t reveal if she would start or be benched. Around the same time as Mulkey’s comments, Reese shared a picture from LSU’s basketball arena on her Instagram story.

After being benched at halftime against Kent State on Nov. 14, Reese hasn’t played four games, including a Thanksgiving Week tournament in the Cayman Islands.

Mulkey refused to explain after LSU’s win over Kent State, saying that she “could” explain, “but I won’t; it was just a coach’s decision.” According to The Athletic, On Nov. 17, Mulkey addressed Reese’s absence on the court.

“It’s very obvious Angel was not in uniform. Angel is a part of this basketball team, and we hope to see her sooner rather than later,” Mulkey said.

Although the opponents in those games averaged a NET ranking of 202nd, the Tigers are holding on strong — 4-0 without Reese. Nevertheless, the Tigers barely prevailed over their game against Virginia, 53rd in NET rankings, beating the Cavaliers 76-73.

As of the latest AP poll, LSU is ranked No. 7 along with Colorado, who beat them in their season opener. In addition, the game against Virginia Tech is a rematch of the 2023 Final Four. LSU made it to the National Championship Game with that victory in Dallas. There has been some restructuring since then for both teams. With Coach Mulkey on board, the Tigers recruited a strong class, including two superstar transfers.

Before the 2022-23 women’s basketball season, LSU utilized the transfer portal to its full potential. During the 2021-22 season, coach Mulkey built an SEC contender that started 23-0. Despite not winning their conference, the team won the National Championship with a 102-85 victory over Iowa.