First Family Attends Princeton Women’s Game To Support Niece, Leslie Robinson

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Leslie Robinson, Camille Zimmerman

Looks like they made it after all.

There was speculation before the game that if nothing major happened in the world, President Obama and First Lady Michelle could attend today’s women’s NCAA Tournament game to see their niece play.

Leslie Robinson is a freshman forward at Princeton, which plays its first-round game against Wisconsin-Green Bay in College Park, Maryland, about 20 minutes from The White House.

The first family was indeed in the stands for the game.

“That’s my uncle and my aunt, my cousins,” Robinson said. “They’re my family, just like anyone else’s family at the games to support them.”

Then she added with a smile: “They do live pretty close. But there are also many other things happening around the world today, so we’ll just have to see.”

Robinson is the daughter of Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig, who played at Princeton and was the head basketball coach at Oregon State. The first lady graduated from Princeton, too.

President Obama, a huge sports fan, selected eighth-seeded Princeton, 30-0, to advance to the Final Four—clearly a show of support for his niece—in his tournament bracket.

In November, when Princeton was in Washington to play at American University, Michelle Obama attended the game, along with her daughters and mother. The first lady spoke with the Tigers at halftime, which was a treat for the team.

Having Leslie Robinson on the team has its benefits. She and her teammates received a private tour of the White House during their D.C. visit, and played a little basketball, too.

Michelle Obama and her daughters were in Asia on Friday. Princeton coach Courtney Banghart cracked: “That would be a tough commute, but I’m not going to be surprised. They have powers to get where they need to be.”

President Obama attends Washington Wizards NBA games when time allows. Each year he goes on ESPN and makes his March Madness selections for both the men and women tournaments.

Maryland coach Brenda Frese did not seem surprised that the president predicted Princeton would go far in the tourney.

“He has strong loyalty, which makes sense. Everyone wants to keep a happy home,” Frese said. “Maybe one of these days, though, if there isn’t a family member (involved), he’ll choose Maryland. I just keep seeing that he’s not choosing Maryland, and we’re in his backyard.”

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