Feb. 12, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University and the Breslin Center have been selected as one of eight additional first- and second-round sites for the 2009 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee announced Tuesday.
The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee selected the sites, and the Administrative Committee of the NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet approved them. The committee also selected nine sites to be added for the 2010 NCAA Championship.
The sites were added after the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee announced in the summer of 2007 that the championship would be expanding to 16 pre-determined first- and second-round sites, beginning in 2009.
Four teams will play first-round games at the Breslin Center either Saturday, March 21 or Sunday, March 22, 2009. The second-round game will be on Monday, March 23 or Tuesday, March 24. In all, the Breslin Center will host three games.
Last year, Michigan State hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women's Championship for the first time in school history at the Breslin Center. East Lansing led all eight first- and second-round sites with a total 21,340 fans passing through the turnstiles during the three sessions. The 2007 event featured eight teams, including host Michigan State and NCAA finalist Rutgers.
"First and foremost, you have to pay tribute and really appreciate the job Michigan State did in hosting the tournament last year," said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. "A lot of our ability to host in 2009 is based on an extremely well-run tournament last year from our administration, the event staff and all of the volunteers in the community. The NCAA wouldn't come back if it wasn't top notch and first class. For me, it's a lot of appreciation for hard work done by a lot of people. Obviously, it's very exciting news. I don't think there's anything more exciting then knowing you have the opportunity to host. I think it's going to provide some inspiration for our kids to work that much harder to know we'll have a chance to play on our home floor."
"This is a compliment to our women's basketball program and our entire community," said MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis. "We look forward to hosting the teams and fans that will visit Mid-Michigan and our campus for this NCAA basketball showcase. Our staff and community will extend the highest level of hospitality to those visiting our area. I am looking forward to the great competition of the NCAA Women's Championship to be played right here at the Breslin Center."
"We are extremely pleased to have been selected to serve as a host for the 2009 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds in East Lansing," said MSU Senior Associate Athletics Director Shelley Appelbaum. "We appreciate the opportunity and we are grateful to everyone who helped make the 2007 event a success and we look forward to providing our Spartans with an opportunity to play in the 2009 event at the Breslin Students Events Center. Michigan State University and Spartan Athletics are proud of Coach Merchant, her staff and team and our loyal fan base; we look forward to this exciting event during March Madness when we can support and celebrate our student-athletes in their quest for excellence."
Along with East Lansing, additional cities chosen to host first- and second-round games in 2009 include Bowling Green, Ky.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Iowa City, Iowa; Notre Dame, Ind.; San Diego, Calif.; Seattle, Wash., and Storrs, Conn.
The additional first and second rounds of the 2010 championship will be played in Albuquerque, N.M.; Ames, Iowa; Cincinnati, Ohio; Durham, N.C.; Louisville, Ky.; Norman, Okla.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Tallahassee, Fla., and Seattle.
"The committee was pleased with the amount of interest generated when we announced that we were going to 16 pre-determined sites again in 2009 and 2010," said Judy Southard, Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Louisiana State University and chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee. "To be able to get a good blend of cities that have past hosting experience in combination with a number of new cities and venues is good for the continued growth of the game of women's basketball and our championship."