LSU freshman Sa’Myah Smith fainted and was helped off a stage during Friday’s ceremony with President Joe Biden at the White House to celebrate the Tigers’ women’s basketball national championship.
Medical personnel were rushed into the East Room of the White House after Smith fainted while Biden called for year-round support for women’s sports. Smith, who was standing in the risers behind the podium, slunk downward and was helped off the stage. “It’s a lot of standing. I apologize,” Biden said. “It’s okay. It’s happened lots of times.”
LSU coach Kim Mulkey said Smith was fine as personnel wheeled her out.
“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go. Sa’myah planned that,” Mulkey said. “No, Sa’Myah is fine, for those of you who are concerned. I’ll assure you of that. … She doesn’t want to leave. She wants to stand with us but she needs to be checked out.”
The event marked a thawing of earlier tensions between the team and the administration. After the championship game, First lady Jill Biden had suggested also inviting runners-up Iowa to the White House in what would’ve been a break from tradition.
At the time, LSU star forward Angel Reese, who averaged 23 points per game this past season, said she was “hurt” by the plan, but she was on hand Friday to offer a hug to Jill Biden and present her with a commemorative jersey.
The Connecticut men’s championship team is also visiting the White House later Friday.