Hailey Van Lith’s respect for Angel Reese is clear. How Hailey Van Lith’s honest view of Angel Reese at LSU affects WNBA ambitions?

The strong relationship between the LSU players has been clear on the court this season – with Hailey Van Lith having proven a key addition to Kim Mulkey’s team after transferring to the program

Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith have struck up an understanding during their time together with the Tigers and the admiration between the pair is clear

Hailey Van Lith’s respect for Angel Reese is clear, with her transfer from Louisville to LSU having materialized due to her desire to play with the “Bayou Barbie.” The guard made the switch from the Cardinals to the reigning national champions last April in the hope of picking up experience ahead of a potential WNBA career, knowing a partnership with Reese would only help her prospects.

Van Lith has excelled in Baton Rouge so far, having become an unsung hero despite adapting to more point guard responsibilities than she had previously. Adding distribution skills to her locker – and helping set the table for Reese – could make her more appealing to WNBA scouts.

Her famous teammates Reese and Flau’jae Johnson have garnered much of the headlines as the Tigers sit in second place in the SEC. However, Van Lith has showed her elite credentials during her appearances at LSU slotting into head coach Kim Mulkey’s team effortlessly.

Previously, Van Lith spoke candidly about the opportunity for her to show her attributes alongside stars including Reese as she sets her sights on making the step to the WNBA. Speaking previously to NBC Sports, she acknowledged: “There’s great examples right now of women in the WNBA who are continuing to break down those barriers every day.

“Even one of my new teammates, Angel Reese, I think she’s a great example of someone who is okay with who she is. She’s someone that doesn’t let societal standards tear her down from being what makes her great. Be vocal, have the attitude, have the sass, because it’s all part of the game. It’s what makes people want to watch.”

She now hopes that the exposure of playing in one of the NCAA’s most feared teams will help her to improve, with the expertise on offer via coach Mulkey also a major factor in her decision to move to LSU. Van Lith continued: “There are a lot of things. I want to play with other really great players that will help get me ready for the WNBA.

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Van Lith has admitted she is in awe of her teammate Reese since joining the Tigers
Van Lith has admitted she is in awe of her teammate Reese since joining the Tigers
“I wanted to play with a really great five or a four and Angel Reese fits that perfectly. Coach Kim Mulkey, she’s one of the greatest and she’s fiery and intense but she also celebrates you, and lifts you up, and has your back like no other. I wanted to explore that relationship.”

At 22-years-old, she is now already eligible for the WNBA draft as she already counts as a senior, meaning her move to professional basketball might not be too far away. Despite being open about her wish to pursue this dream, WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes has previously warned of a tough transition ahead for stars like Van Lith if they are drafted.

Giving her verdict, Swoopes said on the “Gil’s Arena” podcast: “I think Angel will eventually be a good pro. 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.”

READ MORE: Why Angel Reese wore ‘Be A Sheryl’ sweatshirt after LSU’s intense win over Texas A&M
READ MORE: LSU coach Kim Mulkey unleashes emerging weapon who could ease Angel Reese pressure

Swoopes added: “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.'”

Citing Caitlin Clark as a case in point to further her argument, Swoopes added: “So will Caitlin Clark be a good pro? Absolutely. 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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