Pac-12 women's tournament will move to KeyArena
The Pac-12 women's tournament, which has suffered from low attendance in Los Angeles, will move to KeyArena in Seattle starting next season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Pac-12 women's basketball tournament is relocating to KeyArena in 2013, sources have confirmed. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will make an announcement Monday.
"Hypothetically, if it did, that would be great," first-year Washington coach Kevin McGuff said last week of the relocation. "Seattle is a community that really supports women's basketball and I think we could have a very successful women's tournament there."
The women's conference tournament format made its debut at McArthur Court on Oregon's campus in 2002. It drew 27,415 fans for the four-day event. Organizers moved it to San Jose, Calif., in 2003, averaging about 18,000 fans until it relocated, again, to Los Angeles, playing at USC's Galen Center in 2009.
The past two seasons, the semifinal and championship games joined the men's tournament at Staples Center. But despite linking the men's and women's tournaments and placement in a destination city, attendance dropped drastically.
A total of 7,720 attended the four-day session last week.
Washington ranked fourth among the 12 conference teams in regular-season attendance this year (2,054) and the Storm averaged 8,658 in a KeyArena configured to hold 9,686 last summer. The facility has a maximum capacity of 17,072 for basketball.
"We want people to see the great players that we have," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, who has long opposed playing the event in Los Angeles. "We are trying to grow our sport."
Several players from the state's colleges were invited to participate in the WNBA combine during the NCAA Final Four in Denver next month. They are senior guards Jazmine Perkins, April Cook and Rosetta Adzasu of Washington State; Seattle University guard Talisa Rhea; Gonzaga forward Katelan Redmon; and Washington center Regina Rogers.
The Storm has the No. 2 and 22 overall picks in the WNBA draft on April 16.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.