The University of Arizona will play host to NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships to cap the 2005-2006 season, the NCAA has announced.
Tucson will be one of eight pre-selected sites in the second year of that format. This past season, four teams were sent to 16 sites.
McKale Center games will be held either Saturday and Monday, March 18 and 20, or Sunday and Tuesday, March 19 and 21, 2006.
Following this coming season (2004-05), the eight sites and hosts will be Dallas (Texas and Texas Tech), Fresno, Calif. (Fresno State), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Seattle (Washington), Chapel Hill, N.C. (North Carolina), College Park, Md. (Mayland), Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee) and Storrs, Ct. (Connecticut).
In 2006 the other sites and hosts along with UA are Chicago (DePaul), Denver (Colorado), Nashville (Vanderbilt), Norfolk, Va. (Old Dominion), Trenton, N.J. (Rider and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), University Park, Pa. (Penn State) and West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue).
"This is great for this university and great for our women's program. Coach Joan Bonvicini and staff have done an outstanding job of positioning UA women's basketball for this type of national stature," UA athetics director Jim Livengood said.
Assistant coach Curtis Loyd said, "I talked to Joan (who is out of town recruiting) after the announcement and she's very excited. It can definitely help in recruiting and is a big statement for the University of Arizona. It shows how much support we have from the athletics administration. The players are really excited about the potential opportunity to play in front of their families and friends," he said.
Host institutions are not guaranteed one of the 64 berths in the NCAA Championships, but should they be selected they will play on their home courts. Arizona, which finished 24-9 last year, has played in two consecutive NCAA tournaments and six of the last eight seasons under the 13-year head coach..
"The team's prospects for continued success, and continuing its reputation as an NCAA-caliber team, are very bright," Livengood said.