June 3, 2023

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LSU Member Reese on White House Flutter: ‘We’re Going to Obama’

First Lady Jill Biden’s reversal of her suggestion that runner-up Iowa should join the NCAA women’s basketball champ on a visit to the White House didn’t sit well with Tigers star Angel Reese.

Motivated by a discussion of Biden’s comments during her Wednesday appearance on “The Paper Route Podcast,” Reese said the Tigers should celebrate their title with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama instead of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden.

Jill Biden, in her appearance in Denver on Monday, praised Iowa’s sportsmanship and congratulated both teams. She also said that as part of the longstanding tradition of the champions visiting the White House, Iowa State should also come “because they played such a good game.”

The Tigers defeated Iowa 102-85 for the title in Dallas on Sunday.

Reese called Jill Biden’s proposal on Monday a “joke.”

Joe Biden has invited LSU and men’s champion Connecticut to the White House On Tuesday with no mention of Iowa. Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson for Jill Biden, said the first lady did not mean disrespect for LSU and that her comments were meant to pay tribute to the historic game and all of the athletes.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t accept apologies for what I said. I said what I said. For example, you can’t refer back to some of the things you say,” Reese told podcast hosts Brandon Marshall and Ashley Nicole Moss.

“I mean, you just felt like they should have come in because of the sportsmanship, right?” Reese added. They can shed light. We’ll go to the Obamas. We’ll see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.”

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Some commenters on social media pointed to the racial dynamics involved, saying that the winners should only be rewarded with a visit to the White House and that hosting both teams would detract from the achievement of the LSU team, which is predominantly black. Iowa’s team is largely white. Others pointed to the important role of black women in Democratic Party politics.

After LSU won, Coach Kim Mulkey said she would go to the White House if invited. Reese said Wednesday she’s not sure if she’ll go.

Reese has faced criticism on social media for waving her hand in front of Iowa star Caitlin Clarke’s face while staring at Clark during the game. Clark, the Associated Press Player of the Year, didn’t make a similar gesture to anyone in particular during Iowa’s victory over Louisville in the Elite Eight.

Reese said she doesn’t think LSU, had it lost to Iowa, would have received the same praise from Jill Biden as the Hawks did.

She added, “If we lose, we will not be invited to the White House.” I remember her making a comment about both teams having to be invited because of sportsmanship. And I’m like, ‘Are you saying that because of what you did?’ Stand behind us before anything else.”


More Associated Press coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball And https://twitter.com/AP_Top25