Dawn Staley defends declining White House visit: 'I'm here concentrating on my team.'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina head women's basketball coach Dawn Staley made her first remarks Friday after releasing a statement saying her team was skipping a White House invitation to focus on the season.

Appearing as the team ended practice for the day, Staley bluntly said why she and the team wasn't at the White House appearing alongside other NCAA Championship teams.

"Because I'm out here practicing," Staley said.

Staley said the team received the invitation about two weeks ago, but said she and her NCAA champions are busy trying to get better. She also defended her team's move.

"I can't speak on what other people think," Staley said. "I'm here concentrating on my team and getting better. That's it."

"We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow's event," Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley said in a statement, "but we will not be able to attend. As I've been saying since our practices for this season started, all of our focus is on the season ahead. The only invitation we are thinking about is to the 2018 NCAA Tournament."

Staley's stance on making the trip to Washington D.C. has not wavered since being asked about making the trip prior to the season.

South Carolina defeated Clemson 66-36 on Thursday night to move to 3-0 on the year. The Gamecocks will host Wofford at Colonial Life Arena at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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