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Mar 21, 2024 4:44 pm

No. 6 seed Louisville would welcome Hailey Van Lith, LSU meeting

Cochran

Olivia Cochran and Merissah Russell saw the video of a former teammate apparently celebrating the possibility of facing Louisville in a potential second-round Women’s NCAA Tournament game in Baton Rouge.

That former teammate was LSU senior point guard Hailey Van Lith, who was a two-time All-ACC selection in her three seasons with the Cardinals before transferring to LSU.

“I mean, never had no hate-love relationship with Hailey,” Cochran said. “Love her to death. Wish her the best. Glad she’s having success with her new team and we’re having success. This is basketball. It’s about moving on and bettering yourself. Happy she’s doing that. We’re going to do the same for ourselves.

“And yes, we did see the post on social media,” Russell interjected. “Her reaction, yes, to answer your question.”

First things first for No. 6 seed Louisville, which faces No. 11 seed Middle Tennessee on Friday. The winner gets a shot on Sunday at the victor of the game between No. 3 seed LSU and No. 14 seed Rice.

LSU is the defending national champion. Louisville lost in the Elite Eight last season to Caitlin Clark and Iowa. Within 30 days of winning the national championship over Iowa, LSU coach Kim Mulkey scored another victory, bringing in Van Lith via the transfer portal.

Mulkey gave a wide-eyed reaction and All-American Angel Reese, seated next to Mulkey and two seats to Van Lith’s right, pumped her fist and pointed in Van Lith’s direction with a knowing, unspoken message when the seedings were announced on Selection Sunday. What Van Lith said in response isn’t entirely clear.

Social media exploded with lip-reader assertions that Van Lith said something to the effect of “Middle Tennessee is going to whoop” Louisville.

Mulkey said later that Van Lith is “a baller” and will be ready for any matchup.

Trust Louisville feels the same way about a potential Sunday get-together.

“We did see it. We’re going to see what’s going to happen,” Cochran said Thursday.

“I have total confidence in my teammates that we’re going to take care of business tomorrow. Hopefully we can go to Sunday and play.”

–Field Level Media

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