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Committee decides women's basketball championship dates

All three divisions will crown 2016 champions in Indianapolis

The Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee has confirmed the playing dates for the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and beyond, while game times for the 2016 Divisions II and III national championships are also finalized.

For the first time in women’s basketball history, all three divisions will decide national champions over a two-day span in the same venue. Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will be the 2016 home of the events, with all three national championships decided April 4-5.

Playing dates for the 2016 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship include first- and second-round competition Friday, March 18, thru Monday, March 21, at the home court of the top 16 seeds. The bracket will be announced on Selection Monday, March 14 (7 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN). Teams advancing from the 16 second-round sites will compete in regionals played Friday, March 25, and Sunday, March 27, in Lexington, Kentucky, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The other two regionals will be played Saturday, March 26, and Monday, March 28, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Dallas.  The 2016 Women’s Final Four will take place April 3 in Indianapolis. The two national semifinal games will be played at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the national championship game will be played April 5 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Sixty-four teams will participate in the Division II championship regional rounds, which will take place March 11, 12 and 14 on campus sites to be determined. Teams advancing from regional play will meet at the 2016 Women’s Elite Eight on March 22-23 in Sioux Falls. The two surviving teams will meet for the 2016 Division II national championship at 3 p.m. Eastern time April 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Division III championship will feature 64 teams competing at 16 first- and second-round non-predetermined sites March 4-5. The advancing 16 teams will play at four non-predetermined sectional sites March 11-12. The four regional winners will advance to the semifinal round March 19 at Performance Arena on the campus of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. The Division III national championship game will follow the Division II championship April 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tipoff is  scheduled for approximately 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Tickets for championship games in all three divisions are now available at

In addition to deciding playing dates for 2016, the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee recently passed a motion to play regional rounds on a Friday/Sunday and Saturday/Monday schedule through the 2017 championship. The committee also formed a Strategic Format Review Subcommittee to review all rounds of the tournament and provide any recommendations in June 2016.

The committee also finalized the playing days for the 2017-19 Women’s Final Fours, which will all be played using a Friday/Sunday format.  The 2017 Women’s Final Four will be Friday, March 31, and Sunday, April 2, at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The 2018 Women’s Final Four will take place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, March 30, and Sunday, April 1. The 2019 Women’s Final Four will be held Friday, April 5, and Sunday, April 7, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

“After reviewing the day shift proposal with future host sites, the committee decided that it was in the best interest for all concerned that we remain with the dates that were previously contracted for the Women’s Final Four through 2019 and regional rounds through 2017,” said Jean Lenti Ponsetto, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee and director of athletics at DePaul University. “To expedite future discussion in these areas, we have formed a Strategic Format Review Subcommittee so more information can be obtained in helping to make these decisions going forward.”

The committee, which consists of conference and campus athletics administrators, two current women’s basketball student-athletes and a head coach, had previously decided to keep the format that establishes the top 16 seeds as hosts for the first and second rounds and keeps the regional sites at predetermined neutral venues.