When Hailey Van Lith announced she had picked LSU as her destination after she transferred from Louisville, the vibes were high. Van Lith had led Louisville into a deep NCAA Tournament run, and had just completed a breakout season in the women's basketball landscape. So seeing a player with her resume join the defending National Champions seemed like a slam dunk.

Spoiler alert, it wasn't.

While you can argue over why it wasn't a success with Van Lith and LSU linking up, its hard to argue that it wasn't a success. Van Lith's production dropped compared to her previous year, and LSU did not repeat as National Champions. So both parties ended up worse this year than when they got together.

But it would appear, at least from the outside looking in, that the massive pressure on the LSU Women's Basketball team certainly played into this decision. Van Lith seemed lost at times, and it didn't appear to be a secret. Her offensive numbers were down, with the exception of assists, and her defense became a major storyline late in the season.

Van Lith was guarding Iowa's Caitlin Clark as she scored 41 points against LSU in the Tigers' NCAA Tournament loss. Something that became a storyline during the game, and didn't slow down after the end. Which was just another level to the pressure of LSU followers, both fans and the media.

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

With the WNBA Draft coming up fast, players had to declare this week. Van Lith was eligible, and has borderline bragged about her NIL deals and how she's going to take them with her wherever she goes. Which does seem like it might be the most important thing to Van Lith at this point in her basketball career. She told Yahoo:

"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."

Van Lith announced she entering the transfer portal, again, and will find a new place to play next year. We will have to wait to see if she ends up going somewhere that she will be given all the space to score a lot and be a single star, or if she will do what she did with LSU and simply chase a championship. If she's looking to just win a title, she will likely transfer somewhere like UConn or South Carolina, but if she doubles back to Louisville, she's probably just looking to become a stat monster.

Wherever she goes, we hope she can handle that pressure better than in Baton Rouge.

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