Hailey Van Lith issues LSU verdict after Angel Reese reacts brilliantly to critics

LSU broke a two-decade-old program record with Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith combining for 35 points and 17 rebounds to end the Tigers’ two-game losing streak

Hailey Van Lith knows how vital she is to LSU succeeding this season after setting season-highs in points and rebounds in their record-breaking 109-66 blowout win against SEC rivals Florida.

Van Lith, 22, bounced back from a four-point performance in the squad’s shock loss at Mississippi State to lead the team in scoring alongside freshman Mikaylah Williams back home against the Gators. The point guard also recently scored 20 points, plus six assists and five rebounds, in a victory over Arkansas.

However, she followed that up by only putting up 17 points, five assists and three rebounds combined across back-to-back losses against No. 1 South Carolina and at Mississippi State. Consistency from the Louisville transfer is crucial for the Tigers.

“I think it’s mostly just the attitude and competitiveness that I bring to the table,” Van Lith said. “It will help our team. I have to bring it, or we aren’t going to reach our potential. So it’s on me to continue to do that.”

LSU is 5-0 when she scores 15+ points – and the guard also had five-plus rebounds and/or assists in all five of those wins. Against Florida, the senior was also as efficient as ever, shooting 6-of-11 from the field and another season-high 9-of-10 from the free throw line.

She had not taken more than six foul shots in a game this season. That aggressiveness helped the Tigers to a program-record 106 points in an SEC game.

Kim Mulkey wants Hailey Van Lith to pass more than she did at Lousville.
Van Lith is still adapting to playing the point guard position at LSU this season 
Image:
Getty Images)
That total beat the previous high set 20 years ago in a 103-66 win over Alabama. In addition to Van Lith and Williams combining for 42 points, the other three starters, Aneesah Morrow (18), Angel Reese (14) and Flau’jae Johnson (10), all scored in double digits.

Off the bench, Aaliyah Del Rosario added 11 points and nine rebounds in 14 minutes, while Last-Tear Poa also had nine points. Morrow and Reese also contributed to the team by securing several second possessions, combining for 30 of their 59 rebounds, which led to 24 second-chance points.

For the latter, her performance came after being treated harshly on social media and publicly doubted by three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes. “I think Angel will eventually be a good pro,” Swoopes said on the “Gil’s Arena” podcast.

“[But] I don’t think Angel will come into the league immediately and dominate the way people think she will. I say that for people who have never watched a WNBA game. It’s good. There’s talent. Like these women can play.

“There are very few roster spots. Like it’s a real job. People [in the league] look at new players coming in, whether that’s college, players who’ve been overseas, and they look at that and say, ‘Oh, you’re trying to come take my job. Nah, it’s not going to be that easy.'”

Swoopes also shared similar reservations about the prospective No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. She said: “Will Caitlin Clark come into the WNBA and do what she’s doing right now [at Iowa] immediately? Absolutely not. Not gonna happen.”

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