LSU, UConn title teams to visit White House
- M.A. Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.
The national champion LSU women’s basketball team will visit the White House on May 26, the program announced Monday.
It will be the fourth sport from LSU to make a White House visit: The Tigers’ football, baseball and track and field programs also have gone after winning national championships.
The UConn Huskies men’s basketball team, which beat the San Diego State Aztecs 76-59 on April 3 in Houston to secure that program’s fifth NCAA title, also will visit the White House on May 26. The UConn men previously went to the White House in 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014.
The LSU women defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 on April 2 to win the first NCAA title for their program. It is the fourth national championship for LSU’s Kim Mulkey as a head coach; her previous three were with the Baylor Bears in 2005, 2012 and 2019. Her teams have visited the White House after every championship.
First lady Jill Biden attended the women’s national championship game in Dallas and said the next day in an appearance in Denver that she might suggest to her husband, President Joe Biden, to invite both the Tigers and Hawkeyes after the final had a record-setting television audience. She soon issued an apology, saying there was no disrespect meant toward LSU.
There was never an invitation to Iowa.
Initially, LSU forward Angel Reese, the Most Outstanding Player at the women’s Final Four, indicated she did not want to visit the Bidens because of the first lady’s comment. But a few days later, on April 7, Reese told “SportsCenter” that she would go with the team.
President Biden spoke on the phone with both Mulkey and Reese, congratulating them on their 34-2 season.
“In the beginning, we were hurt. It was emotional because we know how hard we worked all year for everything,” Reese said on “SportsCenter.” “You don’t get that experience [to go to the White House] ever, and I know my team probably wants to go for sure and my coaches are supportive of that, so I’m going to do what’s best for the team and we’ve decided we’re going to go.
“I’m a team player. I’m going to do what’s best for the team. I’m the captain.”
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