Reese, who was back on the court Thursday for the first time since Nov. 14 in the Tigers' triumph over No. 9 Virginia Tech, credited her time away for a much-needed “reset and refocus within the team.”
Being apart from the team wasn't easy, and Reese acknowledged the support she received during her absence. She expressed profound gratitude, especially towards her mother, with whom she shares a strong bond.
Surprisingly, another pivotal figure in her comeback was none other than former basketball legend and LSU alum, Shaquille “Shaq” O'Neal. Shaq, who recently signed Reese to a NIL deal with Reebok, played an integral role during her time away.
“I talked to Shaq every day. We FaceTimed, he called, he checked on me every single day to make sure I was good,” Reese said, as reported by Cory Diaz of the Daily Advertiser. “He told me every day, ‘this too shall pass.' He's been here before and he knows what it takes.”
Reese's connection with Shaq went beyond a mere mentor-mentee relationship. He provided her with candid advice and guidance, helping her navigate the challenges she faced.
“Being able to have somebody like that was something that was really good for me. He told me when I was right, when I was wrong and told me what I needed to do to get back. And I know he's probably going to call me after this game,” she said.
Reese's performance against the Hokies on Thursday was nothing short of impressive. Playing her usual starting role, she racked up 19 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes. Her return was met with both relief and joy.
“It felt great (to be back),” Reese said. “It was a long two weeks to be away from the team. Taking time to yourself is really important, I feel like that was something that was important to reset and refocusing within the team.