Hailey Van Lith enters transfer portal after one rocky season at LSU

Hailey Van Lith’s time at LSU appears more than likely to be over.

The guard has entered the transfer portal after just one season with the Tigers, which saw the team fall in the Elite Eight, according to multiple reports.

Van Lith, who had one year of eligibility remaining, had 48 hours after LSU’s Monday loss to Iowa to officially declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft, but she instead will take a fifth season at the collegiate level.

Hailey Van Lith #11 of the LSU Tigers reacts after losing to the Iowa Hawkeyes 94-87 in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024 in Albany, New York. Getty Images

A McDonald’s All-American in 2020 before her first year in college, Van Lith starred at Louisville for three seasons, breaking out during the 2022-23 campaign with a career-high 19.7 points per game to go along with 3.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds as the Cardinals made it to the Elite Eight, only to lose to Caitlin Clark and Iowa.

Before all was said and done, Van Lith was a two-time First-Team All-ACC member before she entered the transfer portal and joined the defending national champions over South Carolina and Stanford, according to the Daily Advertiser.

But with LSU, her scoring numbers sagged as she averaged just 11.6 points per game, the lowest figure since her freshman season — though she did set a new best with 3.6 assists per contest.

Van Lith struggled in the four games that LSU played in during this year’s March Madness run, averaging just 6.8 points per game before the Tigers fell one game short of reaching the Final Four.

She struggled in particular on the defensive end, spending the bulk of her time covering Clark, who torched LSU with 41 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Kate Martin (20) shoots against LSU Lady Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith (11) in the fourth quarter in the finals of the Albany Regional in the 2024 NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena. Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

“Caitlin is very skilled. She’s a great player,” Van Lith said of covering Clark. “She hit some tough shots. There’s not a whole lot you can do about some of the threes she hit.

“I think the team around her that plays a role, they did a good job of executing their role. Ultimately they played better than us, and that’s what it was.”

Head coach Kim Mulkey spoke about Van Lith after the loss, saying that she hoped she would come back with her one year of edibility remaining.

She also noted Angel Reese had another year, but the star forward declared for the WNBA draft on Wednesday.

“Well, I hope it’s not her last game,” Mulkey told reporters. “But if it is, I’m proud to have been her coach for a year. She’s got another year if she wants to come back. So does Angel. I know they have to make decisions.

Hailey Van Lith #11 of the LSU Tigers dribbles during the second
half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA
Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024
in Albany, New York. Getty Images

“Hailey Van Lith came to LSU after being an abundant shooter. Shot it a lot at Louisville. Had great success. Was on good teams. But she graduated in three years with a finance degree. She wanted to experience all the things I guess she saw from afar with our championship last year.

“For her to take that leap of faith and leave her comfort zone at Louisville, you don’t see many players do that when she was that big a piece to their puzzle. She has embraced learning a new position, taking less shots. Our last game against UCLA, I thought her stats were very good, but I’m an old point guard, and I see all that.”

Now, it does appear Van Lith has played her last game for Mulkey, though, in theory, she could return to Baton Rouge.


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