NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Atlantic 10 Conference will play its 2013 Women's Basketball Championship game at the new state-of-the-art Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the league office announced on Thursday. The women's championship finale will be conducted in conjunction with the men's semifinal contests on Saturday, March 16 and will be televised on the ESPN Networks, while the first three rounds will once again be held at Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena on the campus of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, March 8-11.
"We have made a commitment to further strengthen the Atlantic 10 as one of the premier women's basketball conferences in Division I," stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. "Without a doubt, relocating our championship game to Barclays Center is a key move in that commitment. It gives our top teams exceptional exposure on one of the biggest stages in the world. We are excited about showcasing A-10 women's basketball in Brooklyn in March."
The top 12 women's teams at the end of the regular season will advance to the Atlantic 10 Championship. First round action of the event begins on Friday, March 8 at Hagan Arena, with the top four teams earning a bye. Quarterfinal play continues on Saturday, March 9 in Philadelphia, with the Semifinal round aired live on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, March 10. The Championship game will be held on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Barclays Center.
"Barclays Center is proud to announce its first women's basketball game," said Sean Saadeh, Vice President of Programming for Barclays Center. "Our venue's inaugural season will offer a strong lineup of college basketball, culminating with the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships for both the men and women."
The Atlantic 10 Conference sent seven women's basketball programs to postseason play last season. A-10 Champion Dayton and nationally-ranked St. Bonaventure were among the 64 teams selected to the 2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, while Charlotte, Duquesne, Richmond, Saint Joseph's and Temple received invites to the 64-team Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). Additionally, the A-10 closed out the 2011-12 campaign ranked ninth among the 31 Division 1 Conferences in the final RPI Report, while six league teams finished among the top 100 RPI teams in the country, including St. Bonaventure (14), Dayton (37), Richmond (46), Temple (52), Saint Joseph's (66) and Duquesne (91).
In September 2011, the Atlantic 10 Conference formed a five-year partnership with Barclays Center to bring the A-10 men's basketball tournament to Brooklyn and the new 18,200-seat sports and entertainment venue. The tournament is scheduled for March 14-17, 2013. It will mark the first time the A-10 Championship, which sends its champion to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, will be held in metropolitan New York City and the first time it will be played in a new facility.