US collegiate basketball star Angel Reese to visit White House after all | Inquirer Sports

US collegiate basketball star Angel Reese to visit White House after all

/ 10:22 PM April 08, 2023

Angel Reese

Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Lady Tigers cuts down a piece of net after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 during the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game at American Airlines Center on April 02, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

Louisiana State University star Angel Reese said Friday she’ll celebrate the Tigers’ collegiate basketball triumph at the White House after all, despite being “hurt” by comments from First Lady Jill Biden.

Reese said in an interview on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that she was setting aside her dismay at Biden’s suggestion that the University of Iowa — which lost the NCAA championship game to LSU — be invited, too.

On Wednesday she’d been unappeased after the first lady’s spokesperson and the White House walked back that idea, indicating that President Joe Biden would stick to tradition and invite only the champions crowned in the prestigious men’s and women’s tournaments.

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A day after LSU officials said the team would accept such an invitation, Reese said she would go.

“In the beginning we were hurt — it was emotional because we know how hard we worked all year for everything,” Reese told “SportsCenter.”

“You don’t get that experience 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,” she added. “I’m going to do what’s best for the team. I’m the captain.”

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The White House said in a statement Friday that President Biden had spoken to LSU coach Kim Mulkey and left a message for University of Connecticut men’s coach Dan Hurley “to congratulate them on their respective championship victories and invite them to the White House.

“No specific dates for these visits have been set. The President also called LSU Tigers player Angel Reese to congratulate her on LSU’s historic season and championship win.”

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Jill Biden was among a sell-out crowd of 19,482 at the championship game between LSU and Iowa on Sunday in Dallas, where Reese and the Tigers triumphed 102-85.

The contest was the culmination of a compelling women’s tournament that saw Iowa and star Caitlin Clark stun the unbeaten South Carolina Gamecocks to reach the final.

Reese, who scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the title game, was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.

But her “you can’t see me” taunting of Clark in the waning seconds sparked criticism that has been branded racist, since Clark, who is white, is a notorious trash-talker herself and used a similar gesture in an earlier game.

“I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do,” Biden said in comments at an appearance in Colorado on Monday. “But, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game.”

Reese promptly called that idea “a joke” on social media, later telling the podcast “I Am Athlete” that she’d rather celebrate with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.

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“We’ll go to the Obamas,” she said. “We’ll go see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.”

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