Hailey Van Lith, like other LSU women's basketball players, is frustrated. The Tigers' newcomer, who transferred from Louisville to Kim Mulkey's star-studded team before the season, is learning to playmaker and take fewer shots.
Van Lith now plays point guard occasionally instead of just shooting guard. Results are mixed. Despite taking fewer jumpers than at Louisville, Van Lith improved as a facilitator but struggled to hit shots.
"She shot a lot at Louisville because she had to," Mulkey told JWS. "I think she's quickly learning, 'I don't have to take as many shots when I'm surrounded with these many kids that are around me that can score the ball as well.'"
On the bright side, Van Lith has almost doubled her career high in assists per 40 minutes (6.5 vs. 3.5). And she's no longer recklessly turning the ball over like in her Louisville final season.
However, shootings have been a major issue. Fewer tries haven't improved efficiency. Van Lith's first four games were 2-for-13 from 3-point range, continuing a 2022-23 slump.
The Washington native shot 37.2 percent from outside the arc in her first two college seasons but 29.2 percent in 43 games since. This year's free throw percentage (69.6%) is her worst ever.
When star forward Angel Reese is out indefinitely for unclear reasons, Van Lith must accomplish many things. Her production and seasoned leadership are needed more than ever ahead of a big ranked clash with Virginia Tech.
The Cayman Islands will host LSU's doubleheader versus Niagara and Virginia this week. Mulkey was also questioned if Reese will be on the roster for those games.