Hailey Van Lith reportedly enters transfer portal after one season with LSU

Mar 22, 2024; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Lady Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith (11) shoots a free throw against the Rice Owls during the second half at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
LSU Lady Tigers guard Hailey Van Lith is considering her options. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

LSU's loss to Iowa in the Elite Eight was likely Hailey Van Lith's final game with the Tigers.

Van Lith has entered the transfer portal, according to multiple reports Thursday. The 22-year-old, who has played four years of college basketball, has an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After serving as the centerpiece of Louisville women’s basketball for three years as a two-time First-team All-ACC selection, Van Lith entered the transfer portal last offseason. She considered Stanford and South Carolina before committing to the Tigers, the reigning champions at the time.

Van Lith represented an exciting addition for the formidable Tigers, a team that appeared to become even stronger when it also acquired DePaul's Aneesah Morrow via transfer. Van Lith and LSU called the 2023-24 season the "free smoke tour," which was extinguished when Iowa star Caitlin Clark put up 41 points against LSU, ending their season in the Elite Eight.

Van Lith was tasked with guarding Clark for most of the game, a defensive assignment that LSU coach Kim Mulkey never seemed to adjust despite the Iowa guard's scoring.

Shifting to solely playing point guard at LSU, Van Lith averaged 11.6 points per game and shot a career-low 38% from the field. It was a decrease in scoring from her time with Louisville, which saw her average 15.4 points per game and shoot 42% from the floor. She scored at least 20 points in 31 of the 101 games she played there.

After Monday's loss, Mulkey spoke positively about Van Lith's contribution to LSU this season, saying that she was "forever indebted to Hailey and her unselfish play."

“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. "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."

Van Lith had until Wednesday to declare for the quickly approaching WNBA Draft. It seemed likely that she would enter her name, as she implied a readiness for the league while speaking to reporters Monday night. She explained that her NIL deals would follow her as a professional, including her partnership with Adidas that began in March.

“You have to kind of look at what type of player you are,” Van Lith said after the loss to Iowa. “There’s some people that have to capitalize in college because they’re not a pro-type player. They’re likability is going to stay in college. And I think for me, that’s not the case. I’m a pro-type player.

When the league released a list on Thursday of players who had formally filed for draft inclusion, Van Lith's name didn't appear. She opted not to join a class that will include Clark, teammate Angel Reese, South Carolina's Kamilla Cardoso and Stanford's Cameron Brink.