LSU star Angel Reese sheds tears as she opens up for the first time about genuine emotions after a mysterious absence: ‘I am also a human.’ Details in the first comment 👇

LSU star Angel Reese returned to game action on Thursday after a strange two-week absence.

Reese played for the first time since being benched in the second half of a game against Kent State Nov. 14. She scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 29 minutes of game action against Virginia Tech.

Angel Reese waves to the crowd

“It felt great. I mean, it was a long two weeks or a week and a half, two weeks,” Reese said when asked how it felt to be back on the floor. “Taking time to yourself is really important. I feel like that’s just something that was important in resetting and refocusing within the team. I’m just happy to be back.”

The full reason for Reese’s absence is still unknown, with LSU head coach Kim Mulkey only saying the absence stemmed from “locker room issues.”

“Proud of her,” Mulkey said after the game. “Just proud of how she handled herself, proud she’s back to the Angel everybody knows. … There’s nothing but positive things about what happened on that floor.”

Reese was the MVP of the Final Four last season and led LSU to its first basketball national title in Mulkey’s second season as head coach.

Angel Reese and Kim Mulkey share a hug

“My mental health is the most important thing before anything,” Reese said Thursday. “And I’m going to make sure I’m OK before anything. Because I don’t want to cause anything, harm or any cancer within the locker room. So, being able to take a reset to myself. Like I said before, I am human. I’m not just an athlete and that’s OK to do.

“Pro’s do it all the time. So, whatever stories that were wrote and written, don’t believe everything you read. I’m back, and I’m happy, and I’m here. And I’m moving forward, and I’m gonna help take this team as far as I can.”

Reese’s return helped boost LSU in a rematch of a Final Four game in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The win moved LSU to 8-1 on the season.

Reese told reporters she spoke with NBA and LSU legend Shaquille O’Neal “every day” during her four-game absence.

“My mom, of course. But I talked to Shaq every day. We Facetimed every day. He checked on me, called me every day to make sure I was good,” Reese said.

“He’s been here before. He knows what it takes. Just being able to have somebody like that was something that was really good for me. He told me when I was right. He told me when I was wrong. He told me what I needed to do to get back to where I am. And I know he’s going to call me after the game if he hasn’t already.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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