March Madness is here and Fresno State will be home to one of four Women’s NCAA Tournament Regional sites.
On March 24-26, the Save Mart Center will host the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the women’s NCAA Tournament, with the winner advancing to the Final Four.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this event for this city, this university and this athletic department,” said Paul Ladwig, associate athletic director of external communications. “The winner of this event goes to the Final Four. It really and truly does not get any better than this.”
Fresno State Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh was excited for the university as well, but acknowledged that this is an event and something for the entire community to be proud of.
“We get to show off the community, the quality of our community and most importantly, one of the things that we hope that we show, the quality of our fan base and the Red Wave when they come out and support this,” Boeh said.
Boeh is also excited to showcase some of the nation’s elite women’s basketball programs right here in Fresno’s own backyard.
“They told you when you were little kids you had to be careful who your friends were because you are who you hang out with, and the reality is we’re hanging out with, and hosting in fact, the nation’s elite,” Boeh said. “That is very important to Fresno State. That is very important to our community and it’s certainly important to our Athletics Department, that we continue to solidify that we are worthy of being associated with the elite athletic programs and universities in the country.”
Programs such as Stanford, Duke, St. John’s and Purdue may make their way through the Save Mart Center if they win their first- and second-round games.
The Red Wave has been proudly supporting the women’s basketball team at Fresno State for years and Boeh hopes it will encourage attendance to the regional tournament.
“We hope that with the kind of excitement that has been built around our women’s basketball program here, our community has discovered what women’s basketball really can be and the quality of that event that translates to this regional because it really is an exciting event and quite frankly its one of the NCAA’s biggest events of the year,” Boeh said.
Mayor Ashley Swearengin was also enthusiastic stating that not only is this event huge for Fresno State, but the national exposure and business it will bring to Fresno will also benefit the local economy.
“We know that the economic benefit to the city of Fresno is great; every hotel room will likely be filled, or many of them; restaurants will be packed; gas stations will have lines of cars trying to get fueled up,” Swearengin said. “Many local businesses will be positively impacted as a result of the [NCAA] Tournament being here and it’s a great way for Fresnans to introduce themselves to other regions of the country as people come and visit here and perhaps they’ll think about coming back.”
Swearengin hopes the Valley will come and support the tournament.
“To all of the Fresnans out there and those in the Central Valley I say, ‘Come on out, support Fresno State, support this program, support women’s basketball and let’s make sure that we put our best foot forward.’”
Tickets for the Women’s NCAA Tournament Regional can be purchased at the Save Mart Center box office or at gobulldogs.com.