The Baylor women’s basketball team announced Wednesday that it has accepted an invitation to be honored at the White House on Monday, which would make the Lady Bears the first women’s championship team to make a solo visit since President Trump took office.
Baylor said in a news release on its website that Trump would be involved in the ceremony, and a White House official confirmed the report Wednesday afternoon. The visit would come three weeks after the team defeated Notre Dame, 82-81, for the its third national title.
Trump expressed congratulations in a tweet a day after the game, calling it an “amazing win.”
Soon after, Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey said she would be honored by a White House visit.
“I’ve been every time for every president,” Mulkey told the Associated Press this month, speaking of her team’s 2005 and 2012 NCAA championships. “It’s not a political issue for me. It’s an honor to go to the White House. I want everyone to say they went to the White House. Not many people can say that. I hope [the] Virginia men go and I can meet [coach] Tony Bennett.
“We were honored when [George W.] Bush was in the office. We were honored when Barack Obama was in the office. We’d be honored if Donald Trump invited us. With politics aside, we should go to say we went to the White House.”
Since taking office, Trump has played host to a number of professional and collegiate men’s championship teams, including the Washington Capitals and the Clemson and North Dakota State football teams this year. Several women’s collegiate champions in nonrevenue sports visited the White House in November 2017, along with several men’s teams. But the South Carolina Gamecocks, who won the 2017 NCAA women’s basketball title, declined an offer to take part in that event. Coach Dawn Staley suggested that the White House waited too long to invite the team after its title that spring.
The most recent WNBA champions, the Minnesota Lynx in 2017 and the Seattle Storm in 2018, were not invited to the White House. Neither was the Notre Dame women’s basketball team that won the 2018 NCAA title.