The Lady Tigers apparently weren’t interested in a pep talk from First Lady Jill Biden before the NCAA championship game on Sunday.
LSU star forward Angel Reese — who called the First Lady’s invitation for Iowa to visit the White House a “joke” — said the team declined to meet with her prior to defeating the Hawkeyes 102-85 in Dallas.
“Apparently she was supposed to come to our locker room before the game but we said ‘no,’” Reese said on I Am Athlete’s “Paper Route” show on Tuesday, adding that the team did not directly speak with the First Lady.
“She was supposed to come to our locker room and go to Iowa’s locker room. I don’t know if she talked to them. I don’t know if she did,” Reese said.
“But we said we didn’t want to. We didn’t want her coming into the locker room.”
The First Lady attended the women’s national championship game at American Airlines Center, where she sat in a private suite with tennis icon Billie Jean King.
When asked why the Lady Tigers did not want Biden in the locker room, Reese told host Brandon Marshall that she wasn’t pleased with President Biden’s pre-tournament bracket.
“I think Joe Biden had put somebody else to win the national championship,” Reese said. “He didn’t even put us on his bucket to get out of Baton Rouge, so I was like, bet… I think that he said we were going to lose to Michigan or something.”
President Biden indeed had LSU losing to Michigan in the second round and Villanova winning the national championship.
Reese’s comments came after she called the First Lady’s invitation to the White House “a joke” because it also included the Hawkeyes — despite the longstanding tradition of only national champions being invited to White House.
“I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do,” Biden said Monday in Denver, a day after Reese led LSU to its first national championship in program history.
“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.”
During the interview, Reese didn’t back down from her initial comment.
“That was from the heart,” Reese said about her response to the First Lady. “That was from the mind. That was what it was in the moment.
“As soon as that happened, we [the team] hit the group chat, like, what’re we doing? Are y’all trying to go? … We made a lot of phone calls and that’s why she wants to come and apologize. I’m not going to lie to you, because I don’t accept her apology… I said what I said… You felt like they [Iowa] should’ve came because of sportsmanship, they can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas. We’ll see Michelle, we’ll see Barack.”
Biden’s spokesperson, Vanessa Valdivia, backtracked on the matter Tuesday, explaining that that Biden’s comments were intended to applaud all women athletes.
“The First Lady loved watching the NCAA women’s basketball championship game alongside young student athletes and admires how far women have advanced in sports since the passing of Title IX,” Valdivia wrote on Twitter.
“Her comments in Colorado were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes. She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House.”
Reese told the outlet that she’s unsure if she will visit the White House.
“We’re gonna see,” she said. “I don’t know.”
Reese has been in the middle of a controversy after some took exception to her taunting Iowa star Caitln Clark at the end of LSU’s triumph.
Reese added that she doesn’t believe LSU would’ve been invited to the White House if they lost to the Hawkeyes.
“Remember she made a comment about how both teams should be invited because of sportsmanship. — I’m like, ‘Are you saying that because of what I did?’” Reese said, referring to her buzzed about postgame celebration at Caitlin Clark.
The Lady Tigers will celebrate at their national championship parade in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.