The NCAA Women’s Final Four will take the court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this weekend, and for the first time, feature championship games for all three divisions. Vice President of Women’s Basketball Championships Anucha Brown says Indianapolis provides a "seamless transition" when teams visit every five years. The tournament is expected to attract some 30,000 fans and have an economic impact of $20 million. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business, Brown says this year’s edition coincides with several milestones for the sport.
The first NCAA women’s championship was held 35 years ago. It’s also the 20th anniversary of the WNBA and 40th anniversary of the inaugural USA Olympic Women’s Basketball team.
Brown says the Final Four takes years of preparation. The 2016 edition will take place at the same time as the annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Convention, which attracts as many as 2,000 coaching professionals from throughout the country.
The Final Four includes more than just games. Brown says the event is a "celebration of the sport." Activities surrounding the games include: Tourney Town, which is free and family-focused and takes place at the Indiana Convention Center; Super Saturday, which involves free, open practices, autograph sessions and outdoor physical activities; and the headline Friday Tip-Off Party, featuring musical acts such as Salt-N-Pepa.
The game schedule is:
- Sunday: Division I Semi-Finals
- Monday: Division II and Division III National Championship games
- Tuesday: Division I National Championship game
Indianapolis is the headquarters of the NCAA, which Brown says contributes to a smooth event. She adds long-term relationships with the Indiana Sports Corp. and the staff at Bankers Life Fieldhouse are also a plus.