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NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four Returns To Tampa

NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman announces Final Four weekend events at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa.
Ashley Lisenby | WUSF
NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman announces Final Four weekend events at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa.

The women’s college basketball season will culminate in a weekend-long celebration in Tampa this April.

NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman announced the 2019 Women's Final Four event schedule Wednesday at a news conference at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa's Channel District.

“It still literally gives me chills to think back to last year in Columbus and the tremendous performance of our student athletes and we expect that there is going to be some awesome competitive games this year in Tampa Bay,” Holzman said.

Final Four weekend will begin with the semifinals on Friday, April 5. The championship game is Sunday, April 7. The teams will play at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Holzman highlighted the free activities for families downtown as well as community outreach events that weekend.

This is the third time Tampa has been the host city of the women's finals. The city last hosted in 2015 and 2008. Cities and organizing committees place bids to host the games.

While Tampa has held the event three times, no Florida school has ever participated in the Women's Final Four. 

Tampa’s Chief Financial Officer Sonya Little said she believes the tournament will bring economic growth to the Tampa Bay area through tourism and business.

“It’s very important to our community,” Little said. “We saw that in Columbus, there was a $22 million economic impact.”

Planning committee Executive Director Claire Lessinger said in addition to potential economic gains, the games will also enhance Tampa through volunteerism.

“We couldn't be more excited to have this event returning to Tampa,” Lessinger said. “It has economic impact, it has social impact, but more than anything else it is the legacy it leaves behind; long after the games. We have continued to see programming that exists in our community as a direct result of women’s Final Four.”

Players will join volunteers to clean parks by Sparkman Wharf and the Tampa Riverwalk. Teams will also visit hospitals and interact with students at Tampa area schools, including the University of South Florida. USF is one of many community partners for the event.

Residents interested in purchasing tickets and learning more about the Final Four games can visit the NCAA’s website.

Ashley Lisenby is a general assignment reporter at WUSF Public Media. She covered racial and economic disparity at St. Louis Public Radio before moving to Tampa in 2019.
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