LSU freshman Sa’Myah Smith OK after fainting during White House ceremony
Both the LSU women’s basketball team and the UConn men’s basketball team were at the White House on Friday to celebrate their respective national titles
LSU freshman Sa’Myah Smith is OK after she fainted while standing on stage with the Tigers’ women’s basketball team and President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.
The LSU women’s basketball team was at the White House to celebrate this year's national championship. Smith was standing on risers behind the podium in the East Room when she suddenly passed out in what was a scary situation.
"As you can see, we leave our mark where we go. Sa'myah planned that," LSU coach Kim Mulkey said jokingly after the ceremony, via Reuters. "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."
Biden apologized in the moment as medical personnel rushed in to attend to Smith.
“It’s a lot of standing, I apologize,” he said. “It’s OK. It’s happened lots of times.”
Smith spoke with WBRZ’s Michael Cauble from the White House later on, too, and confirmed that she was feeling much better. While she didn’t remember much from the ceremony or the incident itself, Smith did receive a special signed basketball.
I’m was able to catch up with Sa’myah Smith after her White House visit.
She’s doing alright, just a little groggy. #LSU. pic.twitter.com/TwBe80lA2m
— Michael Cauble (@Cauble) May 26, 2023
The Tigers picked up their first national championship in school history last month after beating National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark and Iowa, 102-85. It marked Mulkey’s fourth title as a coach, following her first three at Baylor.
Their trip to Washington was briefly in doubt after First Lady Jill Biden, who attended the championship game in Dallas, initially said that she wanted to invite both LSU and Iowa to celebrate at the White House. While the dynamic has changed slightly both during the COVID-19 pandemic and during former President Donald Trump’s time in office, traditionally only the champion visits the White House to celebrate. Jill Biden quickly walked back those comments, and Iowa declined any interest in the trip.
LSU star Angel Reese, after initially calling Jill Biden’s comments “a joke,” eventually confirmed that she and her team would attend. Reese gave Jill Biden a hug at the ceremony Friday.
The UConn men’s basketball team visited the White House later Friday to celebrate its national championship. The Huskies beat San Diego State in their title game last month to pick up the program’s fifth national championship and first since 2014.