Former Cashmere, WA basketball star Hailey Van Lith played great defense in LSU's Sweet 16 win over UCLA on Saturday during the Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament in Albany, NY

Van Lith stayed on defense with her post game remarks against a Los Angeles Times column that described the defending National Champion LSU Lady Tigers as "dirty debutantes", according to ESPN

Aneesah Morrow #24 and Mikaylah Williams #12 react as Hailey Van Lith #11 draws a key foul against UCLA Getty Images
Aneesah Morrow #24 and Mikaylah Williams #12 react as Hailey Van Lith #11 draws a key foul against UCLA Getty Images

Van Lith was quoted as saying those who perceive LSU in a negative light  were "being racist toward my teammates."

The point guard, who transferred to LSU this year after 3 years at Louisville,  elaborated on her experience as one of the few white athletes on a predominately African American team, particularly among it's star players.

NewsRadio 560 KPQ logo
Get our free mobile app

ESPN published Van Lith's remarks after the Tigers 78-69 win "We do have a lot of Black women on this team, and unfortunately, that bias does exist still today, and a lot of the people that are making those comments are being racist towards my teammates,"

She went on to explain how she is perceived differently versus her teammates in the same situation on the court  "I see with myself, I'll talk trash and I'll get a different reaction than if Angel [Reese] talks trash. I have a duty to my teammates to have their back. Some of the words that were used in that article were very sad and upsetting".

"Calling us the dirty debutantes, that has nothing to do with sports. That's not motivating. But in my opinion, I know for a fact that people see us differently because we do have a lot of Black women on our team who have an attitude and like to talk trash and people feel a way about it. At the end of the day, I'm rocking with them because they don't let that change who they are. They stay true to themselves, and so I'll have their back."

Tigers coach Kim Mulkey also criticized the column that described the UCLA-LSU matchup as a "reckoning" between good versus evil.  Mulkey described the column as  "sexist," "awful" and "wrong."

ESPN reported Van Lith also said she witnessed double standards during her high school career in Cashmere, WA.

"I've experienced it at Louisville. I've experienced it my whole life," Van Lith said. "A lot of the times, I'm one of the only white people on the team and so I do see things from a different perspective. I think a lot of people who live in communities that everyone is like them, that's when they tend to think, 'Oh, racism doesn't exist today.' But I have seen it and I experienced it, and I watch it happen to my teammates. I watch it happen to my friends.

"So, when I go back home, which is a mostly white community, I do share those experiences. When I was in high school, they tried to cancel the Martin Luther King Jr. assembly because we didn't have enough time for it, but every other holiday we had enough time for. We were a majority white high school, so no one had a problem with it. It's my responsibility to say things when that happens because I'm in a unique position."

UCLA-LSU is America’s sweethearts vs. its basketball villains

45 Famous Alumni from Washington State High Schools

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ