Former Louisville star Hailey Van Lith transfers to defending champion LSU

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 26: Hailey Van Lith #10 of the Louisville Cardinals reacts during the first half of the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Elite Eight round of the 2023 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament held at Climate Pledge Arena on March 26, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Hailey Van Lith is headed to Lousiana. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

LSU just got scarier — officially.

It was a shocking development when Hailey Van Lith, the star of Lousiville women’s basketball for three years, entered the transfer portal on April 8.

Thursday, she confirmed the speculation that she would be joining head coach Kim Mulkey and the defending champions with just one word: “eleven.”

Posting a photo of herself dressed in LSU’s white uniform, backed by a giant purple and gold tiger, her caption didn't need to say much else.

Now we know she will wear the No. 11 next season, a change from her longtime No. 10 — which is taken by star Angel Reese.

Van Lith has two years of eligibility remaining on account of the NCAA’s extra COVID year. Coming off of back-to-back All-ACC first-team seasons, she’s poised to fill the opening All-SEC guard Alexis Morris left when she was drafted by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

The 5-foot-7 guard averaged 19.7 points per game on 41.1% shooting last season. She helped Louisville reach the NCAA tournament, where it made it to the Elite Eight. Van Lith scored at least 21 points during the first three rounds of the tournament.

An even more exciting rivalry

LSU and Iowa's title matchup in March attracted 9.9 million viewers to become the most-watched NCAA women's basketball game ever. Both teams, led by polarizing stars in Reese and Iowa's Caitlin Clark, are wildly entertaining. While Reese was criticized for taunting Clark in the Tigers' victory, Van Lith brings a similar energy to the court.

What's more, the hand gesture Reese directed toward Clark called upon an interaction between the Iowa star and Van Lith.

Van Lith dropped 27 points during Louisville's season-ending loss to Iowa. During that game, Clark and Van Lith were passionate until the final buzzer. "You're down by 15 points. Shut up," Clark told Van Lith late in the fourth quarter.

After posting 41 points, 12 assists, and 10 boards, Clark gave Van Lith the “you can’t see me” gesture with her hand. The rest is history, which will likely be revisited when the Tigers attempt to run it back with the addition of Van Lith next season.

"Let's go get another 1," LSU's Flau'jae Johnson commented on the new teammates' Instagram post.

"Oh it's UP," Reese tweeted in response to the news. "FREE SMOKE TOUR CONTINUES," she added, reminding fans that LSU's energy won't be changing any time soon.