NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament Albany Regional Practice
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

LSU women’s head coach Kim Mulkey had to explain to reporters why her squad left the floor prior to the national anthem before their matchup against Iowa.

Video shows the Iowa women’s basketball team holding hands while the anthem plays, then pans to the other side of the court where there are no LSU players.

The incident caused controversy on X and marred what was a tremendous Elite Eight battle between Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU star Angel Reese on Monday night.

The snub though, appears to have been unintentional. At least according to LSU’s coach Kim Mulkey.

RELATED: USA Today Column: Future Of Women’s College Basketball ‘Needs To Be Black’

LSU Coach Kim Mulkey Says National Anthem Snub Not Intentional

Critics were outraged that LSU was not on the floor for the national anthem. Several viewers on X called the incident “embarrassing.”

Coach Mulkey though insists the team’s actions were nothing intentional and that they were simply playing out a typical pre-game routine at MVP Arena in Albany.

“Honestly, I don’t even know when the anthem was played,” Mulkey said, which in itself is a bit eyebrow-raising. “We kind of have a routine when they’re on the floor and they come off at the 12-minute mark. I don’t know, we come in and we do our pregame stuff.”

“I’m sorry, listen, that’s nothing intentionally done,” she dismissed.

RELATED: LSU Star Angel Reese Was Reportedly Benched As An “Attitude Adjustment”

‘Never Stay On The Court’

Dan Zaksheske, a reporter for Outkick, was the one who questioned Mulkey about LSU not remaining on the court for the National Anthem.

He says another reporter came to him and suggested he was trying to gin up controversy since the team never apparently stays on the court for the national anthem.

“You know they never stay on the court for the anthem, right?” the reporter asked Zaksheske. As if that knowledge somehow makes it better.

The team wasn’t on the floor for the anthem ahead of last year’s national championship game victory over Iowa either.

Whatever. It may not be an intentional protest, but how does one team manage to make the anthem part of their pre-game routine while the other can’t work it in? Must be their focus and intensity are greater than that of their opponents. (Insert eye-roll here).

Or, maybe not.

Iowa defeated LSU 94-97 to move on to the Final Four. Clark dazzled with 41 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds. Reese was impressive as well, with 17 points, 4 assists, and an incredible 20 rebounds.

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