(WASHINGTON) — President Obama honored the Baylor Bears, the NCAA women’s champion basketball team, at the White House Wednesday, highlighting their achievements on and off the court.
“I want to thank all the outstanding young women who are behind me, and the coach, for making my bracket look good — at least on the women’s side,” said the president, who boasted that he chose Baylor over Notre Dame.
“If there’s one thing to describe this team, it was dominant,” the president told the audience gathered in the East Room. “Last season, the Lady Bears scored more points than any team in women’s college basketball history. They became the first team ever — men’s or women’s — to win 40 games in a season.”
The president, an avid basketball player, joked about the team’s impressive abilities. “I have to say that there have been times in the past where I shot around a little bit with the visiting team, but this time I don’t think I can get my shot off, so — I’m not doing that this year,” he said.
Obama also called out several players individually, including female athlete of the year Brittney Griner, whom he called “the new face of women’s basketball.”
The president congratulated the team for their many accomplishments off the court. “When practice is over, [the team] worked just as hard. Some made the Big 12 Honor Roll with perfect GPAs,” he said. “They read with students at elementary schools in Waco and served meals to the homeless. They traveled around the world, caring for infants at an AIDS orphanage and building houses in Kenya.”
The president, who coaches his daughter’s basketball team, praised the team for setting “a terrific example for girls everywhere — as athletes, as scholars, as leaders in their community.”
“I could not be prouder of this team,” he said. ”As the father of two daughters who are tall and beautiful just like them, it is great to have role models who can show that women can be strong and athletic and competitive, but also play as a team.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jareen Imam, CNN
Virginia Anderson, Kaiser Health News
Wayne Drash, CNN