The American Athletic Conference has announced that the 2014 women’s basketball tournament will be held at Mohegan Sun Arena. This comes as no surprise as the 10,000-seat venue had been the favorite to unseat the XL Center, which had hosted the Big East tournament for the last 10 seasons.
All 10 members of The American – Central Florida, Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, South Florida and Temple — will compete in the tournament March 7-10. Teams will be seeded based on regular-season finish.
“I am thrilled that The American and the Mohegan Sun Arena have entered into an agreement to host our women’s basketball championship,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “The XL Center has served as a terrific place to hold a league championship since 2004 and continues to be an important partner for UConn.
“Mohegan Sun Arena also has a great reputation and an extensive track record of hosting first-class events. I know this venue will provide an enjoyable experience for the teams and fans alike during the 2014 American Championship.’’
The top four seeds in the tournament will receive byes to the quarterfinals. The tournament champion will earn the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
The semifinals will be televised on ESPNU. The championship will be carried on either ESPN or ESPN2. First round and quarterfinal games will also be televised, with specific coverage plans to be released at a later date.
“It is very exciting to all of us at UConn that the first American Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament will be played in Connecticut,’’ UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel said. “Our state is the strongest market in the nation for the sport of women’s basketball and I know our loyal UConn fan base will support this event in great numbers. I also think that the other institutions of The American and their following will enjoy the experience at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
“The XL Center in Hartford has been an incredible host of the Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament for the past nine years. The event became the most attended conference tournament in the country. UConn athletic events will continue to have a strong presence at the XL Center, including the debut of Hockey East games in 2014-15.’’
Said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco: “We look forward to this partnership. Mohegan Sun Arena offers our student-athletes, coaches and fans the best of many things –a world-class facility, a great destination and committed management. We feel that being at Mohegan Sun will enhance an already very successful women’s tournament experience.”
Said Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority: “We could not be more pleased to have been selected as the site of the American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship. We believe we are the absolute best location for this tournament. Mohegan Sun has a long history of producing world-class events and we will work with the Conference to create an experience that is truly memorable for not only the student-athletes and coaches, but for each and every person who attends.’’