Two Louisville Women’s Basketball Players Named To ACC Newcomer Watch List

Photo Courtesy of @UofLWBB

Dana Evans wasn’t the only Louisville women’s basketball player to receive preseason accolades today from the ACC. Two other Louisville women’s basketball players are receiving recognition before playing a minute on the court as Cardinals. Incoming 5* freshman Hailey Van Lith and RS junior Kianna Smith have both been placed on the Newcomer Watch List.

Hailey Van Lith (HVL) comes in as the seventh overall player and the fourth overall guard according to ESPNW Hoopgurlz and the second overall player and guard as ranked by Prospects Nation. As a senior at Cashmere High school, Hailey averaged 33.8ppg, 9.5rpg, and 4.7apg. The 5’7 guard has won just about every award you could think of in high school and was on numerous USA teams.

Kianna Smith might be new to Louisville, but the former California Bear is no stranger to the NCAA. Smith averaged 9.8ppg and shot 35% from beyond the arc her sophomore year at Cal. Kianna was a highly touted freshman at California, as she came in as the 17th over prospect in the 2017 class according to ESPNW hoopgurlz and was a member of the McDonald’s All-American team.

The University of Louisville was also picked to win the ACC title by both Blue Ribbon Panel and the ACC’s lead coaches. Louisville has either shared or won the ACC regular season outright for the last 3 years.

By all accounts, this is coach Walz’s deepest team to date. The 2020-2021 Louisville Cardinals will enter the year ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press (AP) poll.


Dana Evans Named ACC Preseason Player of the Year

Hailey Van Lith and Kianna Smith were named to the Newcomer Watch List, while the Cardinals were picked first in both polls.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville senior guard Dana Evans has been named 2020-21 Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Player of the Year, while freshman guard Hailey Van Lith and redshirt junior guard Kianna Smith were named to the Newcomer Watch List.

In addition, the Cardinals were picked first in the league after winning three straight regular season titles. The Cardinals received 45 of 57 first-place votes from the Blue Ribbon Panel for a total of 840 points and 13 of 15 first-place votes from the head coaches to finish with 223 points to lead the voting. Louisville was chosen as the preseason favorite for the second consecutive season.

Evans was named 2019-20 ACC Player of the Year last year and she is the consensus ACC Preseason Player of the Year entering this season.

Last season, she was also named to the 2020 WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America team after ranking third in the ACC with 18.0 points per game. She had 10 20-plus point games, which was tied for fourth in the league and scored in double figures in 29 of 30 games played.

She led the league in 3-point field goals made (90), 3-point field goals made per game (3.0), 3-point field goal percentage (43.1%) and free throw percentage (89.0%). Her 90 3-point field goals made ranked 12th in the country and eighth all-time in Louisville program history.

Van Lith was named to the Newcomer Watch List by both the head coaches and the Blue Ribbon Panel. She comes to Louisville as the No. 2 prospect in the country by Prospect Nation and No. 7 overall by ESPN Hoop Gurlz. Earlier this week, she was named to the Lieberman Watch List, which includes the top 20 point guards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.

Following her senior campaign at Cashmere High School, she was named a McDonald’s All-American, Jersey Mike’s Naismith National High School All-American and 2020 Gatorade and MaxPreps Washington Player of the Year.

As a senior, she helped lead Cashmere to a 24-1 record and a trip to the WIAA 2020 Girls Basketball Hardwood Classic 1A championship game. She averaged 33.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

Smith was named to the Newcomer Watch List by the head coaches. She is entering her first season at Louisville after transferring from California. She sat out last season due to NCAA transfer protocols. 

In two seasons at Cal, she scored 600 points, knocked down 91 3-pointers and dished out 244 assists, while helping the Bears to two 20-win seasons and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. 

As a sophomore, she was named Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention after putting up a 3.29 cumulative GPA, starting all 33 games and averaging a career-high 9.8 points per game.

Louisville is picked first ahead of second-place NC State and third-place Syracuse. The Cardinals and Wolfpack were the only two schools to receive first-place votes in the head coaches’ poll with Louisville receiving 13 and NC State two. Louisville (45), NC State (10) and Syracuse (2) received first-place votes in the Blue Ribbon Panel poll.

The Cardinals open the season at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, Nov. 25. They open the home portion of their schedule on Sunday, Nov. 29 against Eastern Kentucky.

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