Oct. 30, 2005
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference has named the city of Indianapolis as host of the league's 2007 Women's Basketball Tournament, it was announced Sunday at the Big Ten Basketball Media Day. The 2007 event, which will be held March 1-5, will be the 13th postseason tournament in conference history and the 12th to be played in Indianapolis.
"We are very pleased to announce that Indianapolis will once again serve as host of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in 2007," said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. "Since returning to Indianapolis in 2002, the city has embraced this great event and made it a tremendous experience for our student-athletes, coaches and Big Ten fans. Our main priority is to provide our member institutions with a first-class event in a world-class arena. We will continue to do that through our committed partnership with the Indiana Sports Corporation, Conseco Fieldhouse and the city of Indianapolis, the amateur sports capital of the world."
Indiana Sports Corporation (ISC), which represents Indianapolis in the national and international sports marketplace, will again serve as co-tournament organizer. ISC has assisted the Conference with the 10 previous women's tournaments that have been staged in Indianapolis. The not-for-profit sports commission coordinates and markets major amateur sporting events in the city, and was instrumental in the NCAA's decision to relocate its national headquarters to Indianapolis.
The inaugural Big Ten Tournament was played at Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1995 and remained at that location through 1996, when it then relocated to the RCA Dome from 1997-99. The tournament moved to Conseco Fieldhouse in 2000 and then left Indianapolis for a one-year stint in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2001. The conference tournament returned to Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse in 2002 and will now remain at that venue through 2007.
Conseco Fieldhouse has provided a setting for historic Big Ten Tournament moments, most recently last year when the 2005 title game featured two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 15 for the fourth time in history. Eighth-ranked Michigan State defeated No. 15 Minnesota, 55-49, to claim its first-ever Big Ten Tournament championship. The Spartans would carry that momentum into the NCAA Tournament and advance to the national championship game. Big Ten fans have recently been treated to thrilling finishes in the title game as each championship game since 2001 has been decided by six points or less. Last year's title game was just one of many close games, which made the 2005 event a memorable one. In addition, three of the 10 games in 2005 were sent to overtime for just the second time in the 11-year history of the tournament.
The interest in Big Ten women's basketball is abundant in the heartland as 30,211 patrons attended the 2005 tournament, which marked the fourth-highest total in the history of the event. It was also the fourth consecutive year the attendance has eclipsed the 30,000 mark. Just two years ago, the Big Ten set a pair of attendance records as the 2004 championship game was played in front of a single-session record of 9,417 fans, which helped establish an overall tournament record of 37,635 spectators watching Big Ten women's basketball at its finest.
In the past 11 years of Big Ten Tournament play, the conference has welcomed more than 314,000 fans, including over 287,000 spectators to the Indianapolis area. Five different league representatives have become tournament champions. Michigan State captured the 2005 title, after Purdue claimed both the 2003 and 2004 championships. The Boilermakers have won a league-best five titles, including three consecutive events from 1998-2000. Iowa and Penn State have each won two titles, while Indiana claimed its only title in 2002, as the fifth-seeded Hoosiers became the lowest seed to clinch the tournament crown.
The 2006 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will be held on March 2-6, at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Fieldhouse will also be the site of this year's Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, March 9-12, after previously serving as host in 2002 and 2004.