The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is coming back to the Bryce Jordan Center this March.
Penn State was among 16 schools selected to host the first and second round games, the NCAA announced Wednesday. Those games are slated for March 22-25.
The Lady Lions have served as an NCAA host 15 times, the last time in 2011 when DePaul, Dayton and Navy competed at the Jordan Center. The Lady Lions have won nine of their last 10 home NCAA Tournament games, posting a 17-5 overall record.
Penn State, the two-time defending Big Ten regular-season champion, finished 26-6 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs before falling 71-66 to LSU at Baton Rouge. The squad returns two starters, including Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas. The Lady Lions have seven incoming freshmen this season.
“We are really thrilled to host the NCAA Tournament this year,” Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington said in a university release. “We wanted this year to be a treat for our fans and this community, and when you look at the outstanding level of competition coming through the BJC this year, we’ve certainly accomplished that. ... This year is going to be a season like no other and we get to end the year with a bang by hosting two NCAA Tournament games. I can’t think of a better way for Maggie Lucas and the rest of the seniors to finish their Penn State careers.”
“We couldn’t be more excited that the NCAA has chosen Penn State as one of the host institutions ... for first and second round games,” Penn State Director of Athletics Dave Joyner said. “Penn State has consistently shown year-in and year-out that we have some of the best fans in the country and we are thrilled to be able to reward them with the chance to see the NCAA Tournament at home in the Bryce Jordan Center.”
The other universities hosting first and second round games are Iowa State, LSU, North Carolina, Maryland, Texas A&M, Duke, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, UCLA, Washington, Connecticut, Toledo, Baylor and Purdue. Winners from those sites will advance to regional rounds at Lincoln, Neb., Louisville, Ky., Notre Dame, Ind. and Stanford, Calif.
Penn State opens its regular season against Nov. 8 against Saint Francis at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lady Lions also host defending national champion Connecticut (Nov. 17), national semifinalist Notre Dame (Dec. 4) and 2011 NCAA champion Texas A&M (Dec. 15) in an ambitious non-conference schedule before opening Big Ten play at Iowa (Jan. 5). Penn State faces defending Big Ten Tournament champion Purdue in its league home opener on Jan. 12.