1. Defending champion LSU started season ranked #1 but lost opener to Colorado amid locker room issues. Coach Kim Mulkey criticized some players' leadership and fight.
2. Star player Angel Reese was suddenly benched by Mulkey during fourth game for unclear reasons and hasn't played since.
3. Mulkey declined to clarify why Reese was out or when she'd return, citing "sacredness of locker room".
4. LSU kept winning, taking next seven games with players like transfers Aneesah Morrow and Hailey Van Lith emerging as leaders.
5. Injury to forward Sa'Myah Smith prompted Morrow to carry load at both ends in tight win over Virginia. She dominated.
6. Mulkey praised team’s resilience and listens to ‘no outside noise’ after gutsy victories sans Reese in Cayman tourney.
7. Back in Baton Rouge, an effusive Mulkey announces Reese returning but guard Kateri Poole still out for undisclosed reasons.
8. Big opportunity for LSU to prove rallying without Reese as she returns against ranked, familiar foe Virginia Tech on Thursday.
9. Mulkey insists team is past locker room issues but response to adversity, Reese’s reintegration loom large for title hopes.
10. Sparta against #9 VT first true test against quality opponent as LSU tries picking up pieces from last month’s upheaval under the microscope.