The Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee has confirmed the playing days for the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and beyond, while game times for the 2016 Division II and III national championships are also now finalized.
For the first time in women’s basketball history, all three divisions of women’s basketball will decide national championships over a two-day span in the same venue. Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will be the home of the celebration, with all three national championships decided April 4-5.
Playing dates for the 2016 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship include first- and second-round competition taking place Friday, March 18 thru Monday, March 21 at the home of the top 16 seeds that will be announced on Selection Monday, March 14 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN). Teams advancing from the 16 second-round sites will compete in regionals played Friday, March 25, and Sunday, March 27, in Lexington, Ky., and Sioux Falls, S.D. The other two regionals will be played Saturday, March 26, and Monday, March 28, in Bridgeport, Conn., and Dallas. The 2016 Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis will take place April 3, with the two national semifinal games at 6 and 8:30 p.m. ET, and the national championship game played on April 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Division II championship regional rounds will take place March 11, 12 and 14 at on-campus sites to be determined, with 64 teams participating. Teams advancing from regional play will meet at the 2016 Women’s Elite Eight, taking place March 22 and 23 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. The two surviving teams will meet for the 2016 Division II national championship on April 4, with the game tip set for 3 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Division III championship will feature 64 teams competing at 16 first- and second- round non-predetermined sites on March 4-5. The advancing 16 teams will then play at four non-predetermined sectional sites on March 11-12. The four regional winners will advance to the semifinal round at Performance Arena on the campus of Capital University, in Columbus, Ohio, on March 19. The Division III national championship game will be part of a doubleheader on April 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, following the Division II national championship game, with tip time at approximately 6 p.m. ET.
Tickets for championship games in all three divisions are now available at www.NCAA.com/WBBTickets.
In addition to deciding on playing dates for 2016, the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee recently passed a motion to play regional rounds on Friday/Sunday and Saturday/Monday through the 2017 championship. The committee also formed a Strategic Format Review Subcommittee to review all rounds of the tournament and provide a recommendation in June 2016 for implementation as early as 2017 for first and second rounds, 2018 for regional rounds and for the 2020 Women’s Final Four.
The committee also finalized the playing days for the 2017-19 Women’s Final Fours, which will all be played using a Friday/Sunday format. The 2017 Women’s Final Four at American Airlines Center in Dallas will be held on Friday, March 31 and Sunday, April 2. The 2018 Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, (Nationwide Arena) will take place Friday, March 30 and Sunday, April 1. The 2019 Women’s Final Four will be held Friday, April 5 and Sunday, April 7 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Fla.
“After reviewing the day shift proposal with future host sites, the committee decided that it was in the best interest for all concerned that we remain with the dates that were previously contracted for the Women’s Final Four through 2019 and regional rounds through 2017,” said Jean Lenti Ponsetto, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee and director of athletics at DePaul University. “To expedite future discussion in these areas we have formed a Strategic Format Review Subcommittee so more information can be obtained in helping to make these decisions going forward.”
The committee, which consists of conference and campus athletics administrators, two current women’s basketball student-athletes and a head coach, had previously decided to keep the format that establishes the top 16 seeds as hosts for the first and second rounds and keeps the regional sites at predetermined neutral venues.