After Louisville beat Michigan in the NCAA Women’s Elite Eight, Hailey Van Lith and her parents shared an emotional on-court embrace.
This year’s NCAA Women’s Tournament is reaching its latter stages, and on Monday night No.1 Louisville booked their place in the Final Four with a win over No.3 Michigan.
One of the stars of the Cardinals is sophomore Hailey Van Lith. The 20-year-old guard posted her fourth straight 20-point NCAA Tournament game in Louisville’s 62-50 victory over Michigan.
She is one of the top prospects in women’s college basketball, and is best known for being a member of Team USA’s U18 basketball team, winning a gold medal at the FIBA U18 World Cup in 2019.
Hailey Van Lith’s parents in tears after Elite Eight win
The Louisville star finished with 22 points, three rebounds and two steals and went nine of 15 from the field. After the final whistle, Hailey Van Lith’s parents ran on to the court to congratulate her.
It was an emotional moment as the family hugged it out in floods of tears.
What we know about Hailey Van Lith’s parents
Hailey Van Lith’s parents are Corey and Jessica Van Lith. Van Lith’s father, Corey, played baseball and basketball at University of Puget Sound and has been an important part of Hailey’s young career.
After her second-round win against Gonzaga, which Corey was in attendance for, Hailey paid tribute to her father.
“He knows how hard I work and how much I want it, and he probably wants it more than me. So I think sharing this moment, the fact (my parents) get to come to games like these and I get to run to him after games, is truly special.”
Speaking about encouraging his daughter from an early age, Corey Van Lith said: “I would tell her, ‘Until you are the biggest believer in yourself it doesn’t matter what anybody else believes, or the coaches believe. Until you believe that it’s going in when it leaves your hand, you can stop practising because it ain’t going to help any more.’
“That’s the biggest change. She had to learn how to get shots off differently but it was knowing ‘you can’t guard me’ and, when she’s buying into that, she’s dangerous.”
Sport clearly runs in the family as Hailey’s older brother, Tanner, plays baseball for Big Bend Community College.
Hailey pays tribute to Kobe Bryant after Elite Eight victory
In high school, Hailey was mentored by Kobe Bryant, and trained with Kobe and his daughter Gianna at one of their basketball camps.
After the win against Michigan, she paid tribute to the late Lakers legend and revealed what she thinks he would have said to her before the game:
Hailey and the Cardinals now advance to the Final Four where they play fellow No.1 seed South Carolina in Saturday’s national semi-final. The winner will play Stanford or Connecticut in the NCAA Women’s Championship Final.