July 6, 2005
PULLMAN, Wash. - The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee announced, Wednesday, the Inland Northwest will be home to March Madness in 2008.
Washington State University and the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena will host a NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship regional March 29 and 31 or March 30 and April 1. Exact dates of competition in Spokane will be announced at a later time.
"This will be the fifth time Washington State University will team with the Spokane Arena to host an NCAA Championship event," WSU Assistant Director of Athletics for Event and Facilities Operations John David Wicker said.
Wicker added, "By awarding us this championship, the NCAA recognizes the outstanding partnership between WSU and the Spokane Arena and knows we will run a first class event."
WSU Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator Marcia Saneholtz stated, "I was informed by the NCAA Committee that it is aware of the quality events we have hosted in the past and is excited about returning to Spokane."
This marks the fifth time the NCAA has placed a Division I championship event in Spokane. In 1997, WSU and the Spokane Arena hosted the Women's Volleyball national semifinals and championship match. The event saw a then-record 21,076 patrons attend the two sessions.
The 2001 Women's Basketball West Regional took place at the Spokane Arena and saw Southwest Missouri State's Jackie Stiles, the Associated Press Player of the Year, lead her team to the Women's Final Four. In addition, the event drew 22,092, the most of any regional site in 2001 and the third highest total among NCAA regional sites from 2000-05.
The Men's Basketball Championship made its debut at the Spokane Arena in 2003 for the first and second rounds. Three sold-out sessions featured five of the top eight selections from the 2004 NBA Draft in Connecticut's Emeka Okafor (No. 2, Charlotte) and Ben Gordon (No. 3, Chicago), Wisconsin's Devin Harris (No. 5, Washington), Josh Childress of Stanford (No. 6, Atlanta) and BYU's Rafael Araujo (No. 8, Toronto).
Last July, WSU and the Spokane Arena were announced as hosts for the 2007 Men's Basketball Championship first and second rounds.