r995074 600x400 3 2 - Replay Madness

Former Louisville standout Hailey Van Lith has committed to LSU, a seismic move in women’s college basketball that pairs one of the sport’s biggest stars with the defending national champions.

The 5-foot-7 guard announced her decision by posting a photo of her in an LSU uniform Thursday with the caption “eleven,” seemingly referencing her new jersey number. Van Lith will have two years of eligibility remaining and transfers to LSU as a graduate transfer after completing her degree at Louisville.

After arriving in Baton Rouge following a storied two-decade run at Baylor, now-four-time national champion coach Kim Mulkey crafted her roster by relying heavily on transfers, as six of the Tigers’ top eight players this past season — most prominently Angel Reese out of Maryland — did not start their careers at LSU. After striking gold by bringing in Reese, Mulkey hopes she’s doing the same with Van Lith.

Across her three seasons at Louisville — two of which she was the team’s leading scorer — Van Lith compiled averages of 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on 42.2% shooting from the field (33.7% from 3). In a career year as a junior, Van Lith averaged 19.7 points and 3.2 assists per game, as well as 4.5 rebounds, making her one of two Power 5 players, along with Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, who averaged at least 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game on the season.

As a sophomore, the two-time first-team All-ACC player propelled the Cardinals to the 2022 Final Four, where she was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Wichita Regional. This season, Louisville fell to Iowa in the Elite Eight last month, the program’s fifth consecutive appearance in that round of the tournament.

LSU recently won the school’s first basketball championship in Mulkey’s second season at the helm. They lose starters Alexis Morris, LaDazhia Williams and Jasmine Carson, but return double-double machine Reese, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, as well as standout freshman Flau’jae Johnson. Van Lith will provide a massive boost in the backcourt.

Mulkey also brings in the top-ranked freshman class — featuring two top-10 recruits, Mikaylah Williams and Aalyah Del Rosario — and the program is hosting DePaul transfer Aneesah Morrow, one of the nation’s top scorers over the past two years, in Baton Rouge this upcoming weekend.

With Van Lith and the rest of the returning and new talent around her, LSU will look to become the first program to repeat as champions since UConn from 2013 to 2016. Prior to their magical run in March and April, the Tigers had not made it to the Final Four since five consecutive appearances from 2004 to 2008, under then-head coaches Pokey Chatman and Van Chancellor.

Source link

Ex-Louisville star Hailey Van Lith commits to defending champion LSU