WASHINGTON — The University of Connecticut’s men’s basketball team – still reeling from their NCAA championship win on Monday night – received an invitation to continue the celebrations in the nation’s capital.
President Joe Biden invited the Huskies to the White House, saying that the team “returned to glory with a series of dominant performances that were often incredible to watch.”
“Congratulations to the team for building a program that is set up to build on that success,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday.
In his series of tweets, the president also extended an invitation to the women’s champion Louisiana State University.
“Congrats to (LSU) who demonstrated excellence on and off the court,” he wrote. “They showed us what it looks like to win with an unrelenting belief in themselves. And they did it in one of the most-watched women's sports games in US history.”
He said in a tweet Tuesday that UConn and LSU “showed us the best of what this country can be.”
“We can all learn a lot from watching these champions compete,” the president said, “and I look forward to welcoming them at each of their White House visits.”
Biden did not announce any dates for the celebration.
There was no immediate comment from Connecticut regarding Tuesday’s invitation, however, the team has made the trip to the White House after winning the NCAA title game in prior years.
Following LSU’s victory, coach Kim Mulkey said she would go to the White House if the team, the Tigers, was invited.
The president’s invitation appears to close the door on the suggestion a day earlier by first lady Jill Biden that the defeated Iowa women’s team be invited too.
The first lady, who is a big sports fan, had watched LSU’s 102-85 victory over Iowa from the stands in the Dallas arena on Sunday alongside tennis great Billie Jean King and several college athletes.
During an appearance Monday in Denver with Colorado lawmakers, Jill Biden followed up by praising Iowa's sportsmanship and congratulated both teams on their performance.
“I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do. So, we hope LSU will come,” she said. “But, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game.”
The suggestion didn't go over well. LSU star Angel Reese, who was honored as Most Outstanding Player, on Monday tweeted a link to a story on Jill Biden’s remarks. “A JOKE,” Reese wrote, along with three rolling-on-floor-laughing emojis.
Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson for Jill Biden, said the first lady was excited by watching the women's game and meant no disrespect to LSU by suggesting a White House invite for Iowa.
“Her comments in Colorado were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes," Valdivia tweeted Tuesday. “She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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