Why did Hailey Van Lith transfer from LSU? Guard enters transfer portal for second straight year. What’s Next For Hailey Van Lith? DETAILS BELOW!!

LSU women’s basketball and Kim Mulkey will have a new point guard next season.

One day removed from Angel Reese declaring for the WNBA draft, Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith has entered the transfer portal according to The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings.

It is the second time that Van Lith has entered the transfer portal in her career as she transferred to LSU from Louisville last season. At that time, Van Lith chose to play for Kim Mulkey — over Stanford and SEC rival South Carolina — to play alongside Reese and compete for a national championship. However, the latter of that fell short as LSU ended its season on Monday as it lost to Iowa in the Elite Eight.

Jennings reported that Van Lith will be eligible to compete during the 2024-25 season as she will use her COVID-19 extra year of eligibility.

Here’s what you need to know about Van Lith’s departure from LSU:

Why did Hailey Van Lith transfer from LSU?

When LSU’s season ended on Monday, the Tigers — and the college basketball world — knew there was a possibility that Van Lith may not return to LSU next season. The assumed reasoning for that option was that she would have declared for the WNBA draft, not re-enter the transfer portal. It even seemed like Van Lith was leaning this way given how she spoke about the decision after the loss to Iowa. However, the latter was what was chosen.

Things had to move fast for Van Lith as WNBA rules state that a player who is eligible for the draft must declare by April 1. However, for those competing in the Elite Eight or later in the NCAA Tournament have 48 hours after their final game to renounce their NCAA eligibility and declare for the draft. And since Van Lith did not announce by yesterday, that eliminated that option which had people thinking she would run it back to the Tigers.

“I hope it’s not her last game. But if it is, I’m proud to have been her coach for a year,” Mulkey said of Van Lith following LSU’s loss to Iowa. “She’s got another year if she wants to come back….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. Forever indebted to Haley and her unselfish play to come to LSU to play with a lot of great players and learn a new position.”

As Mulkey alluded to, Van Lith’s season in Baton Rouge was one roller coaster of a year.

On top of learning an entirely new position, as she wasn’t Louisville’s true point guard, Van Lith struggled to score this season for the Tigers. In hindsight, it made sense as the Tigers weren’t able to share the basketball equally all season as LSU had a roster that also featured Reese, Flau’jae Johnson and Annesah Morrow.

Offensively, and defensively, Van Lith saw her numbers dwindle this season. Two years removed from averaging 19.7 points per game at Lousiville, Van Lith averaged just 11.2 points per game this season. She turned over the ball 85 times this season, the second-highest in her career. During LSU’s NCAA Tournament run, Van Lith finished with less than five points in each of the four games: three points vs. Rice, four vs. Middle Tennessee, two vs. UCLA and three vs. Iowa.

Now she will look for a restart and build back up her WNBA draft stock.

Hailey Van Lith stats

Van Lith had an up-and-down season in Baton Rouge this season, after transferring from Louisville. It wasn’t until the last few weeks of the regular season that Van Lith came around and began to provide the Tigers with big scoring nights. In her lone season at LSU, Van Lith averaged 11.6 points and 3.6 assists per game.

2023-24 season: 11.6 points per game, 3.6 assists per game, 2.4 rebounds per game and 37.8% shooting from the field

5 landing spots for Hailey Van Lith as she transfers from LSU, including South Carolina

After a season spent with LSU trying to win a national title, college women’s basketball star Hailey Van Lith will enter the transfer portal, per The Athletic.

Van Lith played at Louisville in 2022 before making the jump to LSU to form a superteam with Angel Reese and Flau’Jae Johnson. However, the Tigers came up short in the Elite Eight round against Iowa.

As one of college basketball’s true stars, Van Lith will undoubtedly receive plenty of interest for any team trying to contend for a national title in 2025.

Let’s analyze five potential landing spots for Van Lith, now the top name to enter the transfer portal on the women’s side of college hoops.

South Carolina is one of the premiere destinations for any women’s college basketball player, as Dawn Staley’s team has yet to lose a game this season. Van Lith could help South Carolina contend for a national title as she did with LSU this season in a conference she’s now familiar with.

The Washington native could return to the West Coast to play for Stanford, one of the legacy programs in women’s basketball. She’d be a huge hit and the team’s biggest star if she made the transfer to Palo Alto and keep the program as a real challenger in the tournament next year.

Washington State won the Pac-12 this past season, and it’d give Van Lith an opportunity to play close to home since she’s from Wenatchee, Washington. After Charlisse Leger Walker entered the transfer portal, the team does need a guard, so Van Lith would be a perfect fit.

Oregon State

The Register Guard

Oregon State presents a fascinating landing spot for Van Lith, as the team made the Elite Eight this past women’s NCAA tournament and boasts one of the best post players in the country in Raegan Beers. It’d also give Van Lith an opportunity to play close to her home in Washington.

Louisville

The Courier-Journal

It’s entirely possible that Van Lith returns to Louisville, a place where she’s played before and would have a clear understanding of Jeff Waltz’s system. It’s not likely, but we’ll include this as a surprise destination if Van Lith prefers to return to familiar confines.

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