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