NCAA Women’s Final Four host cities have been unveiled for the stretch of 2021-2024, with some intriguing arenas in the mix.
San Antonio (Alamodome), Minneapolis (Target Center), Dallas (American Airlines Center), and Cleveland (Quicken Loans Arena) have been named as future host cities for the NCAA Women’s Final Four from 2021 through 2024. Both the Alamodome and American Airlines Center have experience in hosting major events, while the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves recently oversaw a multi-phase renovation at Target Center. A similar project is in the works in Cleveland, where Quicken Loans Arena is undergoing an early phase of a larger renovation project leading up to the Cavaliers’ 2018-19 NBA season.
The announcement by the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee identified the four cities after an exhaustive process over the past 12 months. Tampa Bay, Florida, (Amalie Arena) and New Orleans (Smoothie King Center) previously had been identified to host in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
The Women’s Final Four will return to San Antonio and the Alamodome on April 2 and 4, 2021. The Alamo City has played host previously to America’s premier women’s sporting event in 2002 and 2010. The 2002 national championship was won by UConn, which defeated Oklahoma in the title game. The Women’s Final Four all-time attendance record was set in 2002, with 29,619 in attendance for the national semifinals. The 2010 Women’s Final Four in San Antonio also was won by UConn, behind most outstanding player Maya Moore. The Huskies, with a 39-0 record, defeated Stanford for the national title. Co-hosts for the 2021 event include University of the Incarnate Word, University of Texas at San Antonio and San Antonio Sports.
Minneapolis returns as a Women’s Final Four host city in 2022 after previously hosting in 1995. Playing dates for the event will be April 1 and 3 at the Target Center. The 1995 Women’s Final Four in Minneapolis was a sign of things to come in women’s basketball, as the UConn Huskies, coached by a young upstart named Geno Auriemma, scored the first of their record 11 team national championships. The championship capped a perfect 35-0 season for the Huskies. The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Sports Minneapolis will serve as co-hosts in 2022.
Dallas and the American Airlines Center will host March 31 and April 2, 2023. Dallas previously played host to the Women’s Final Four in 2017, highlighted by the national semifinal upset of UConn by Mississippi State, which ended the Huskies’ record 111-game winning streak. The South Carolina Gamecocks then emerged to win the school’s first national championship. The Big 12 Conference and Dallas Sports Commission will serve as co-hosts in 2023.
Cleveland, which previously hosted the Women’s Final Four in 2007, will return as host in 2024, with games played April 5 and 7 at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland was the site of the second to last national championship won by the Tennessee Lady Vols and legendary head coach Pat Summitt in 2007. It will be the fourth Women’s Final Four to be held in the state of Ohio. In addition to Cleveland in 2007, the Women’s Final Four has been held in Cincinnati in 1997 and in Columbus in 2018. The Mid-American Conference and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission will serve as co-hosts.
“The committee appreciates all of the cities that were involved in the bid process and are thrilled to announce the additions of great hosting communities in San Antonio, Minneapolis, Dallas and Cleveland to the Women’s Final Four family of future hosts,” said Rhonda Lundin Bennett, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and senior associate athletics director at Nevada. “When we crown a national champion in those cities in the years to come, we know our student-athletes, teams and fans will have enjoyed an amazing championship experience.”