After attending the women’s NCAA basketball championship game last month, first lady Jill Biden sparked controversy by publicly suggesting that her husband invite not only the winning team — but also the runner-up — to celebrate at the White House.
On Monday, the White House announced that two basketball teams are indeed coming on May 26 — but only one women’s team.
The president and first lady plan to welcome the Louisiana State University women’s team, as well as players from the University of Connecticut, who claimed the championship in the men’s tournament. A White House advisory suggested the Tigers and Huskies will be honored in separate ceremonies.
That’s not exactly the break with tradition that Jill Biden had envisioned after watching the Tigers defeat the women’s team from the University of Iowa in a hard-fought 102-85 game, giving LSU its first women’s basketball title.
“You know,” the first lady said at the time, “I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game.”
The rare stumble particularly irked Angel Reese, the star forward for LSU who was instrumental to her team’s victory over Iowa and its star guard, Caitlin Clark.
“If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House,” Reese said on a podcast.
She also called the dual invitation “A JOKE” in a tweet last month.
Vanessa Valdivia, a spokeswoman for Jill Biden, later said that the first lady’s suggestion that Iowa be included was meant “to applaud the historic game and all women athletes.”