The University of Toledo and Savage Arena have been selected as one of 16 sites for the first and second rounds of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee announced Oct. 9.UT will host Division I Women’s Basketball Championship play for the first time with first- and second-round games in Savage Arena either Saturday and Monday, March 22 and 24, or Sunday and Tuesday, March 23 and 25. The exact dates and ticket information will be released at a later time.
“We’re excited to be selected as a site for the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament,” UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “We are thrilled to get this opportunity, and I’m confident that UT will serve the NCAA and four teams very well during their time here. This will be a chance to showcase our University and Savage Arena nationally, as well as expose the great fan base we have in northwest Ohio.”
Savage Arena enters its 32nd year as the home of Rocket men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, and its sixth since the completion of a $30 million renovation that has made UT’s athletic facility one of the finest arenas of its size in the country.
Designed by the architectural firms SSOE Inc. and Ellerbe Becket, the remodeled Savage Arena includes a bowl-style seating configuration that brings fans closer to the action. Seating capacity for basketball is 7,300.
Among the other improvements to the arena were the addition of a new basketball court; suites, loges and club seats along the west side of the arena; a new jumbo video scoreboard and sound system; new lighting; new restrooms and concession stands; a remodeled Joe Grogan Room, a glass-enclosed lounge with seating for up to 200 dinner guests; new locker rooms and team rooms; and a new athletic training room, complete with two whirlpools and the latest in treatment and rehabilitation equipment.
Adjoining Savage Arena is the new Sullivan Complex, a 36,000-square-foot building that serves as a complement to the arena. Highlighting the Sullivan Complex is the glass atrium lobby that serves as the primary entrance into Savage Arena. Other features include a new ticket office; “Rocky’s Locker” for the sale of UT merchandise on game day and during normal business hours; a new Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame; the Downtown Coaches “Wall of Champions”; a new 10,000-square-foot strength and training center for UT student-athletes; and new offices for coaches and staff.
A multi-purpose complex, Savage Arena not only serves the needs of intercollegiate athletics, but it also hosts concerts, convocations and graduation exercises. To date, more than eight million people have visited Savage Arena for various forms of entertainment.
The UT women’s basketball team has led the Mid-American Conference in attendance an astounding 23 consecutive seasons and ranked No. 25 nationally in 2012-13, averaging 4,012 fans per contest for the second highest total in school history. During its historic run through the 2011 postseason, Toledo posted a school-record and MAC-best 7,301 fans vs. USC in the WNIT Championship Game.
The Rockets also have dominated play on the Savage Arena floor as well, winning more than 75 percent (318-98 mark) of their home games since beginning play there in 1982-83. In five years under Head Coach Tricia Cullop, Toledo is an impressive 72-10 (.878) on its home court, including 37-3 (.925) against MAC opponents.
In addition to Toledo, other first- and second-round sites for 2014 include Ames, Iowa; Baton Rouge, La.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; College Park, Md.; College Station, Texas; Durham, N.C.; Iowa City, Iowa; Knoxville, Tenn.; Lexington, Ky.; Los Angeles; Seattle; Storrs, Conn.; University Park, Pa.; Waco, Texas; and West Lafayette, Ind.
The four selected regional sites are Lincoln, Neb.; Louisville, Ky.; Notre Dame, Ind.; and Stanford, Calif.
“The committee continues to look for ways to create a better in-arena atmosphere for our student-athletes, improve attendance, and enhance the broadcast look of the games,” said Carolayne Henry, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and senior associate commissioner/senior woman administrator of the Mountain West Conference. “The 2014 championship presented us with a unique opportunity for our institutional hosts during the regional rounds of play. The committee is continuing to look at other host and format options that make sense for our championship going into 2015 and beyond.”