I’m running a little late with Keeping Score this week because it has taken me a over month to stop bleating about the Lady Vols first round loss in the NCAA tournament, and to fully accept the awesomeness of the 2009 UConn Huskies. When I saw the picture of them standing behind President Barack Obama at the White House this week, I was finally able to embrace this teams’s place in history.
When a school wins its sixth national championship on a 39-0 run, beating opponents by an average of 30 points a game, running one of the toughest schedules in the NCAA, you know they’re going down as one of the best teams to ever play the game. When they cap the season by shooting around at the White House with President Obama, it sets them even farther apart.
The Huskies visited the White House this week, as all national championship teams do. They listened to a speech by the president and posed for a picture with him. They gave him an autographed basketball and a UConn jersey: Number one, with "Obama" stitched onto the back. And that’s when things got awesome.
"Number one — that’s what I’m talking about!" Obama joked. "I will wear it when I’m playing." And speaking of playing, why don’t we all just go around to the back and shoot around on the White House’s outdoor half-court?
WNBA.com talked to senior and recent draft pick Renee Montgomery about the experience, and she said: "He was already late but he said, ‘you know we should go shoot a couple hoops,’ so we went out there and he took his jacket off and he was shooting around. He can really shoot. He only missed one shot."
Coach Auriemma laughed when he told reporters, "He was pretty good from 17 feet. His shot’s a little unorthodox, but it goes in … He’s got a little bit of that swagger."
In his speech before the game — which he won, by the way — President Obama said that, as a father, he truly values the success of female athletes. "My girls look at the TV when I’m watching SportsCenter and they see women staring back," he said. "That shows them that they can be champions, too."
Here is a video of the president playing P-I-G with the UConn women:
Congratulations to the 2008-2009 UConn Huskies.