South Carolina forward A'ja Wilson holds the trophy and coach Dawn Staley points as the team celebrates a win over Mississippi State in the final of the NCAA women's Final Four. (AP photo / Tony Gutierrez)

NCAA champ South Carolina women decline White House invite

WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump is set to host collegiate sports championship teams at the White House on Friday, although a list of teams attending has not been provided.

Trump hosted the Clemson Tigers football team at the White House in June. The University of North Carolina’s men’s basketball team said earlier this year it could not agree on a date for a visit.

The South Carolina women’s basketball team will not be attending after declining an invitation.

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“We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow’s event, but we will not be able to attend,” coach Dawn Staley said in a statement Thursday night. “As I’ve been saying since our practices for this season started, all of our focus is on the season ahead. The only invitation we are thinking about is to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.”

Staley said in April that her team would go if invited because “it’s what it stands for. It’s what national champions do.” She told The Associated Press in late September that she hadn’t received an invite and “that spoke volumes.”

South Carolina will play in Southwest Florida from Nov. 24-26 at the Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena in Estero.

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Trump sparred with professional athletes earlier this year when NBA star Stephen Curry said his championship-winning Golden State Warriors didn’t wish to meet with Trump. The feud erupted as Trump was lambasting NFL athletes for kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

The White House says NCAA teams will attend a reception at the executive mansion.

Author: Associated Press
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