As the regular season winds down, college basketball teams around the country have cast their eyes upon the postseason. That includes the women’s basketball teams in the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship March 3-6 at Chesapeake Arena, 100 W. Reno Ave.
This is the fifth women’s tournament held in Oklahoma City and the second consecutive event.
“Anytime you can host a Big 12 Championship in your community, it’s a privilege to do so,” said Tim Brassfield, Oklahoma City All Sports Association executive director.
Excitement for the event also has grown. Brassfield said ticket sales are up over last year at this time.
Oklahoma City was the likely choice to host the tournament, Brassfield said.
“One, the experience we have doing it. Two, they have confidence in us doing it,” he explained. “And three, the location of our city makes it the most logical place to have it.”
Last year, the Big 12 and the city inked a four-year agreement to host the event at Chesapeake Arena through 2019. The convenience for the fans was an overwhelming factor in landing the contract.
“All the things we’re so used to that we kind of take for granted sometimes [impressed tournament officials],” Brassfield said. “For example, location of the hotels, being within walking distance of the arenas, our restaurants, our entertainment district — they are all right there.”
This year, the tournament lasts four days. First-round action starts 6 p.m. March 3. The championship game is 8 p.m. March 6. All 10 conference teams will compete for the Big 12 title in Oklahoma City. In the past 20 years, seven different teams have been crowned champion. Baylor has eight titles, including the previous six.
The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA women’s basketball championship.
Besides great teamwork and skill, including teams like the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, organizers have also added family-friendly entertainment for fans of all ages, including daddy-daughter day, hero day, military appreciation night and more.
According to Brassfield, they had to make the tournament stand on its own even when state teams aren’t favored to win it all.
“I think what we learned is that this event is great to hold in your city, but you have to give an event like this time to grow. That’s why we are glad about the consecutive years,” he said. “For example, right now, our local teams are not No. 1 in the country or top five, so you have to have fans who come for the love of basketball.”
Organizers are also offering group ticket sales to high schools across the state so younger athletes can watch and learn from tournament play.
“We’re hoping to have over 2,000 basketball players on and off through the weekend,” he said.
High-school tickets for the Big 12 women’s tournament can be purchased through competing schools or by visiting big12sports.com.
General admission tickets are available at the Chesapeake Arena box office and chesapeakearena.com. Games are 6 p.m. March 3, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. March 4, 1:30 p.m. March 5 and 8 p.m. March 6.
Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Championship
100 W. Reno Ave.
Print headline: Hoop heroes, Big 12 Conference Women’s Championship lands at Chesapeake Arena.