New York, N.Y. -
Wintrust Arena, located in downtown Chicago, will be the home of the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament presented by Jeep for the next three years, the Conference announced on Tuesday. Slated to open this fall, Wintrust Arena will be the home of DePaul basketball while also featuring a diverse, year-round calendar of events including national concert tours and conventions. The 2018 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament is set for March 3-6, with dates for the 2019 and 2020 events to be announced.
“We are very excited to bring the 2018, 2019 and 2020 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournaments to Wintrust Arena, a spectacular addition to the Chicago sports and entertainment landscape,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “We look forward to working with Jean Lenti Ponsetto and her staff at DePaul to produce a first-class event and a memorable experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans, which will be enhanced by the extraordinary amenities the new arena and the Windy City have to offer. For our supporters watching from home, FS1 and FS2 will again carry live what we know will be another fierce competition.”
All 10 teams qualify for the BIG EAST Tournament, with the winner earning the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. In four years since conference realignment, three teams have won the crown, with DePaul winning the first two trophies at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., followed by St. John’s in 2016 at the Blue Demons’ McGrath-Phillips Arena, before Marquette won its first BIG EAST title in program history on its home court at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wis., this past March.
For the fifth consecutive year, FS1 and FS2 will provide coverage of the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament. FS2 will air the quarterfinal round on March 4, with games set for 1, 3:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. (ET). FS1 picks up the remainder of the tournament, with the semifinals on March 5 slated for 4 and 6:30 p.m., and the championship game set to tip off at 7 p.m. on March 6. The BIG EAST Digital Network will live stream both first round games on March 3, with tip times to be determined.
“We are proud to host the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament for the next three years,” said DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto. “DePaul Athletics has had the good fortune to host several NCAA and BIG EAST women’s basketball events and looks forward to hosting the BIG EAST Women’s Tournament and a 2019 NCAA Regional at Wintrust Arena. The excitement in the city for Wintrust Arena and Coach Bruno’s program are building as we welcome not only our team to Chicago’s McCormick Square neighborhood, but also the entire BIG EAST Conference in March. We can’t wait to showcase the outstanding programs in our conference in the premier college basketball arena to open this season.”
From the renowned architects at Pelli Clark Pelli and Moody Nolan, Wintrust Arena is part of a redevelopment plan to transform the surrounding neighborhood into a vibrant entertainment district. The building's design is contemporary, but it grows from a study of the adjacent neighborhoods. The arena's main entrance is located on the site's most public spot, at the corner of prominent streets Cermak and Indiana. The building's many transparent façades help to create an architecture of experience in which the activity energy and excitement of the arena is felt around the site on the street.