Indiana Fever visit White House to meet Obama

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WNBA reigning champions the Indiana Fever visited the White House on Friday to meet President Barack Obama.

Coach Lin Dunn gave the president a high-five, thanking him for all he's done for women.

"I want to thank you personally, you and the First Lady, for all you do to empower women. You have no idea! Every day you both send a strong message that little girls can do anything they want to do and they can be anything they want to be. And we thank you for that," Dunn told the president, giving him the high-five.

"I appreciate that," Obama said.

"This is not Coach Dunn's first trip to the White House. She came here when she was a Girl Scout. I won't say which administration that was," joked the president.

"They knew they had to step up their game and that's what they did. They rallied behind my good friend, who I've had the pleasure of being on the court and she took it easy on me, Tamika Catchings, MVP, who can now add a WNBA championship to her NCAA championship, three-time gold medalist," he said.

"All of you have brought home Indiana's professional basketball title since 1973," the president told the team, who stood behind him. "So I really want to congratulate them on an incredible 2012 season. We wish them the best of luck in the 2013. Everybody give the Indiana Fever a big round of applause!"

The team presented Obama with some gifts - a basketball and a jersey with his name on it.

"This is an amazing group of people. What they did under tremendous adversity - they kept fighting back. Nobody expected us to win the conference and certainly no one, none of the reporters, you know all those people, none of them picked us to win," said Dunn.

The Fever club flew to Washington on Thursday ahead of Friday's ceremony at the White House. The team will then spend a long weekend in the area as it prepares for a Sunday game there against the Mystics.

It wasn't the first time Fever star Tamika Catchings has met a president. In 1998, Catchings was able to meet Clinton during a trip to the White House with her Tennessee team. She also attended the State of the Union speech made by George W. Bush in 2004.

A few years ago, Catchings met Obama during his visit to Kokomo. Catchings officiated an impromptu 3-on-3 basketball game in which Obama played as part of his first presidential campaign.

"He's just a great guy, so fun to be around," Catchings said. "When he walks into the room, everybody just gets quiet. It's that understood respect that you have for somebody of his caliber. Mrs. Obama, too, she's the same. The First Lady and the President are just great people."

Mickie DeMoss, in her second season as a Fever assistant coach, has met three different U.S. presidents in the White House while making six trips to Washington D.C. from 1987 to '98. She has photos of herself with Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton (four of them), each signed by the President.

"It's just like winning championships. (It) never gets old," said DeMoss, who was an assistant coach for Tennessee Volunteer teams that won six NCAA women's titles and were rewarded with the Washington visits.