RICHMOND, Va. – VCU won't have far to travel for the Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship next March as the league announced on Thursday it has inked a three-year partnership with the Richmond Coliseum to move its postseason tournament beginning in 2014.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Atlantic 10 women's tournament in our city for at least the next three years," said VCU Head Coach Marlene Stollings. "This provides many unique opportunities for the A-10, the growth of women's basketball and the City of Richmond. In particular, the ability to brand the tournament in one location will provide an avenue to escalate attendance to unprecedented heights.
"The A-10 is the top basketball-driven conference in the nation. What an honor it will be for our city to embrace this top-notch conference. Wendy Larry, Hall of Fame coach and now A-10 Associate Commissioner, alongside Commissioner Bernadette McGlade, deserve much of the praise as they worked tirelessly to turn this vision into a reality."
The 2014 13-team event will take place at the Richmond Coliseum March 5-9. The championship will open with a play-in game on Wednesday, March 5, followed by four first-round games on Thursday. The four quarterfinal games will tip-off Friday morning followed by the semifinal round on Saturday, which will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network. The finals will air live on ESPNU beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
"The opportunity to establish a long-term home for our women's basketball championship and partner with the City of Richmond was one we could not pass up," said A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. "We selected Richmond because it gives us the ability to build on our record attendance from last year's championship and provide a true March Madness environment for our women's basketball student-athletes."
When the championship tips off in Richmond, it will mark just the third time in its 32-year history that it will take place at a neutral site. Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass., played host in 2011, while Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., served as host in 2010. The Atlantic 10 is one of only eight conferences (out of 31 leagues) where the women's basketball championship will be played at a neutral site, separate from the men's championship.
The Atlantic 10, one of the premier women's basketball leagues in the country, has seen at least 50 percent of its membership participate in postseason play in four the last five seasons. The A-10 has earned three NCAA Tournament bids in six of the last nine years and 17 times overall. The league has also had at least seven of its teams advance to postseason play in each of the last five years.