Pittsburgh, PA — Earlier this August, the Atlantic 10 Conference announced the move of its women’s basketball championships from the Richmond Coliseum to campus sites for the next three years.
Duquesne University will host in 2019, Dayton in 2020 and VCU in 2021, after five consecutive seasons of play in Richmond.
“We’re in a situation where we had been at Richmond for the past five years as a neutral site, the good news for the Richmond Coliseum is that they are currently in the process of a renovation project and with that said, it gave us an opportunity to take a step back and see what we wanted to do for the next three years,” Atlantic 10 Senior Associate Commissioner Debbie Richardson said exclusively to DYSTNow.com. “After discussion with the membership we decided to take it back to campus and see how we could better revitalize our women’s basketball.”
Richardson stated that several schools submitted bids and deciding factors were the student-athlete experience, fan engagement and the ability across the board to successfully run a championship.
Regarding Duquesne, Richardson cited its ability to host large events in the past including the NCAA Tournament and Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championships in the most recent school year and the A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship was contested at PPG Paints Arena in 2017.
“There’s been an uptick in interest since our men’s championship has been there as well so there were a lot of positives coming from interest in the community as well,” said Richardson.
Speaking on the Palumbo Center, Richardson appreciates its intimacy and feels there is no bad seat, which allows you to feel a special kind of energy.
Richardson did stress the campus sites aspect of these next three years, meaning PPG Paints will not be used as a venue in 2019 and the same goes for the Richmond Coliseum in 2021.
As far as what is beyond these next three years, there will be an evaluation based on a number of factors which will result in that decision.
“We’ll obviously be in a scenario in three years where we will have to make a decision, it might be where we go back on campus, but at the same time, this gives us an opportunity to showcase our home institutions both on our national television package and different areas for our fans to experience that,” Richardson said. “Where I am going with that statement is that we will have an opportunity to step back and make those comparatives and see what we want to do.”
Tickets for Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship are $55 and since seeds 3-8 host first round games, a total of seven games will be played at the Palumbo Center, beginning with quarterfinals March 8 and concluding with the championship on March 9.
“You have an opportunity to see seven games and if you break that down, it is a great deal,” pitched Richardson. “You get to see quality basketball with an up close and personal experience. We are looking forward to being at Duquesne in 2019.”