LSU women’s basketball captain Angel Reese said Friday she will visit the White House with her NCAA champion team, after several days of attacking first lady Jill Biden for saying she would suggest that the runner-up Iowa Hawkeyes be invited, too.
“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,” Reese said on ESPN.
Louisiana State University said Thursday it would accept President Biden‘s invitation to visit the White House. No date has been set for the event.
Reese had slammed a suggestion by first lady Jill Biden that both LSU and Iowa, which lost to the Tigers in the championship game Sunday, visit the White House. Only the national champion of major sports events traditionally has been invited.
“So, we hope LSU will come but, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game,” the first lady said Monday.
Responding on social media the same day, Reese called the first lady’s remarks “A JOKE” on Twitter and added in an Instagram comment: “WE NOT COMING. period.”
President Biden did not take his wife’s suggestion, inviting only LSU and the University of Connecticut, the men’s basketball champion.
But Reese doubled down the next day. Speaking on an episode of “Paper Route,” part of the “I AM ATHLETE” media company, she said the Tigers should instead visit former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle.
“[Iowa] can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas.’ We’ll go see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.”
Reese also said that, if Iowa had won, she did not think Mrs. Biden would have included LSU.
“I just know if the roles were reversed, they wouldn’t be the same. If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House,” Reese said.
Mrs. Biden‘s spokesperson, Vanessa Valdivia, said the first lady, who attended the game, meant no disrespect and wanted only to highlight the performances of all the athletes.
The championship game for the women drew 9.9 million viewers, a record for women’s college basketball. The 102-85 final tally also broke a record for the most points scored in an NCAA women’s championship game.