COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four only 43 days from tipoff, members of the NCAA staff and Columbus Local Organizing Committee detailed national championship plans at the Feb. 16 Women’s Sports Report at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Championship week will culminate Friday, March 30, with the national semifinals at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2. The national championship game will be played at 6 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, April 1, and will be carried live on ESPN.“Columbus is ready to shine, and we are excited to see the event details coming together,” said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of women’s basketball. “The season has been one of great competition, compelling storylines and record-setting performances. We are eager for March, the start of the championship and for the road to Columbus to open.”
While a national champion will be crowned inside Nationwide Arena on April 1, fan interactive activities outside the arena will be equally unforgettable.
Fans of all ages are invited to participate in many free events during championship week. The Thursday Pick and Roll and Super Saturday Night celebrations will welcome fans to one of America’s marquee sporting events. Tourney Town presented by Capital One at the Greater Columbus Convention Center is a free fan festival jampacked with special appearances, autograph signings, interactive games, giveaways, basketball contests, youth clinics and more. Youth activities such as the Women’s Final Four Bounce presented by Buick and youth clinics will be in full swing during Women’s Final Four weekend. Networking opportunities such as Beyond the Baseline, AlumNation and the Women’s Final Four 3v3 Tournament will involve women’s basketball alumni and others.
The NCAA and the Columbus Local Organizing Committee have spent significant time activating programming that welcomes the entire Columbus community, and hundreds of Columbus-area volunteers have stepped up to help. Through highly attended youth clinics and the Read to the Final Four program involving thousands of area students, a significant effort is being made to leave a lasting legacy in the community. In addition, Women’s Final Four week events will include team pep rallies, hospital visits and a court renovation in Columbus.
“It’s hard to believe that the journey that started 10 years ago is finally here,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Logan. “We are excited to welcome basketball fans from across the country to Columbus. The weekend activities offer something for everyone, and we hope the Columbus community will come out and take advantage of the numerous free events that will be taking place throughout the weekend.”
Here’s a look at the many ancillary events that will be part of championship week. Note that full event details and registration links for all are available at ncaa.com/womensfinalfour. All times noted below are local, Eastern time.
TOURNEY TOWN presented by CAPITAL ONE
When: Thursday, March 29-Sunday, April 1
Times: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, March 29; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, March 30; 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, March 31; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, April 1
Location: Greater Columbus Convention Center
The official fan festival of the 2018 Women’s Final Four, Tourney Town is a FREE event jampacked with special appearances, autograph signings, interactive games, giveaways, basketball contests, youth clinics, a historical area, the new Beyond the Baseline Lounge and more.
THURSDAY PICK AND ROLL
When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday, March 29
Location: Short North District, Columbus
The Women’s Final Four weekend will tip off in the Short North District with the new Thursday Pick and Roll event. Fans are invited to pop around High Street to experience Columbus shops and restaurants from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Former players and the participating bands and spirit squads will be at select locations meeting fans throughout the day. Tourney Town, located inside the Greater Columbus Convention Center on High Street, also will be a stop filled with hours of fun activities for fans of all ages. The more places fans visit during the Thursday Pick and Roll, the more chances they have to win Women’s Final Four prizes.
BEYOND THE BASELINE
When: Thursday, March 29-Sunday, April 1
Now in its fourth year, the Beyond the Baseline program has grown into four full days of professional development programming in Columbus for students and business professionals who are participating in Women’s Final Four activities. New this year, the Beyond the Baseline Lounge will feature motivational speakers, panelists, professional headshots, networking events, fitness sessions and so much more throughout the weekend. The Beyond the Baseline Lounge will be located inside Tourney Town at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Check ncaa.com/womensfinalfour for the updated Beyond the Baseline schedule. Participants can expect sessions from Olympians, WNBA players, health and fitness experts, financial planners, sportscasters and many more amazing presenters that will help the participants navigate through their careers.
When: National semifinals — 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 30 (ESPN2), National championship — 6 p.m. Sunday, April 1 (ESPN)
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
A limited number of single-session tickets remain, starting at $35. Tickets can be purchased online at ncaa.com/wbbtickets.
In addition, the NCAA Ticket Exchange also offers a 100 percent guaranteed NCAA-approved secondary ticket marketplace where fans can buy and sell NCAA tickets. The NCAA Ticket Exchange can be accessed online at ncaa.com/wbbtickets.
NCAA tickets may not be offered as a prize in a promotion, sweepstakes or contest, or auctioned for fundraising purposes unless authorized in advance by the NCAA. The NCAA reminds fans that purchasing tickets from secondary unauthorized vendors may result in fraudulent purchases.
When: Friday, March 30-Sunday, April 1
Former NCAA women’s basketball student-athletes from all divisions are invited to enjoy the 2018 Women’s Final Four weekend by participating in the AlumNation program, which is the ultimate homecoming experience for former players. AlumNation participants will enjoy exclusive alumni parties, invitations to Beyond the Baseline events, access to the VIP area of the Beyond the Baseline Lounge, an invitation to the AlumNation gifting suite and reserved alumni seating for both Women’s Final Four sessions. Contact Gabby Nottage (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317-917-6820) for more AlumNation information.
WOMEN’S FINAL FOUR BOUNCE presented by BUICK
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, March 31
Location: Starts at McFerson Commons Park
The Women’s Final Four Bounce presented by Buick is FREE for kids 18 and younger who are invited to participate in this unique parade and Women’s Final Four event, joining thousands of fans dribbling their way through the Arena District and into Tourney Town — the official fan festival of the 2018 Women’s Final Four. The first 2,500 participants will receive a FREE basketball and T-shirt. Online preregistration is required.
WOMEN’S FINAL FOUR 3v3 TOURNAMENT
When: 3-7 p.m. Saturday, March 31
Location: Tourney Town, Greater Columbus Convention Center
Price: $45 per team, $15 per individual
The third annual Women’s Final Four 3v3 Tournament tips off Saturday, March 31, at Tourney Town presented by Capital One. The 3v3 tournament has been created to bring former basketball players together to celebrate the competitive spirit and camaraderie of the weekend.
The female-only 3v3 tournament is an open registration for players age 18 and up and teams may consist of three or four members. Registration is $45 per team or $15 per individual entry fee. Individuals are welcome to register and will be placed with others into teams.
Participants will receive a Women’s Final Four 3v3 tournament jersey, three-game guarantee, championship bracket to follow completion of preliminary rounds and access to the AlumNation gifting suite if participants purchased tickets in the AlumNation section.
The winning team will gain access to the top tier of the AlumNation gifting suite if participants purchased tickets in the AlumNation section, as well as receive four tickets to the 2019 Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida, a transportation stipend and a four-night hotel stay at the NCAA headquarters hotel.
Current NCAA student-athletes who wish to register in the 3v3 tournament are advised that their participation may jeopardize future collegiate eligibility to participate in basketball. Furthermore, accepting any prize money or other gifts from the tournament is not permitted by NCAA legislation. Contact Gabby Nottage (email@example.com; 317-917-6820) for more information.
SUPER SATURDAY NIGHT
When: 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31
Location: Nationwide Arena
The inaugural Super Saturday Night event will celebrate current and former women’s basketball players at all levels on a grand stage inside Nationwide Arena. As Tourney Town wraps up for the night, fans are invited to keep the festivities going in Nationwide Arena for the 3v3 championship game; on-court activities with former players as part of the Play4Kay Game; a special presentation to 2018 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Katie Smith and the Columbus Quest of the American Basketball League; fan contests; all-star autograph sessions; band and spirit squad performances of the Women’s Final Four teams; and much more. Admission is FREE and open to the public. Fans will have opportunities to donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund throughout the night, including auction items and Buckets4Kay.
As part of its commitment to hosting this event, the Columbus Local Organizing Committee is actively recruiting volunteers. There are over 2,500 volunteer shifts available for more than 1,000 individuals. Volunteer opportunities include Tourney Town presented by Capital One, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Convention, the Women’s Final Four Bounce presented by Buick, team red carpet arrivals, hotel welcome desks, Beyond the Baseline events and numerous hospitality events. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, and each volunteer will receive official Women’s Final Four apparel to be worn throughout the week.
Full requirements for volunteers can be found at columbuswff.com, and any questions about volunteering can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.