ESTERO, Fla. – NCAA Tournament teams Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech round out one of the strongest women’s college basketball fields ever assembled, Gulf Coast Showcase organizers announced Wednesday. The eight premium programs will descend upon Southwest Florida for the second-annual tournament to be played at Ft. Myers’ Germain Arena.
Next season’s event, scheduled for Nov. 28-30, 2014, will be headlined by defending national champion Connecticut. Six of the eight teams were announced at the inaugural event back in November, and included the Huskies, Arizona State, College of Charleston, Green Bay, Minnesota and Villanova. Vandy and Georgia Tech join Arizona State and UConn as participants in the 2014 NCAA Tournament field.
“I am extremely excited to bring my team to Fort Myers next year to compete in the 2014 Gulf Coast Showcase,” said Geno Auriemma, Connecticut’s Hall of Fame coach. “Southwest Florida is a beautiful part of the country and the field, which includes four teams that qualified for the 2014 NCAA Tournament, is going to be exceptionally competitive. We are looking forward to what promises to be a great all-around tournament experience.”
Here’s a snapshot of each squad:
- Arizona State (Pac-12 Conference) – Coach Charli Turner Thorne has won more than 300 games at ASU with nine NCAA Tournament appearances and two Elite Eights
- College of Charleston (Colonial Athletic Association) – Coach Natasha Adair led CofC to the third-most wins in school history in only her first season at the helm in 2012-13
- Connecticut (American Athletic Conference) – Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma has led the Huskies to eight national championships and 14 Final Fours and UConn is the No. 1 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament
- Georgia Tech (Atlantic Coast Conference) – Coach MaChelle Joseph has led the Yellow Jackets to new heights over the past decade and has the highest winning percentage (overall and conference play) in school history
- Green Bay (Horizon League) – Over the past six seasons (2008-2013), Green Bay has the third-highest winning percentage in NCAA Division I with a 175-25 mark, trailing only Connecticut and Stanford
- Minnesota (Big Ten Conference) – The Golden Gophers finished 22-13 this past season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT
- Vanderbilt (Southeastern Conference) – In her 12 seasons at Vandy, Coach Melanie Balcomb has led the Commodores to 12 NCAA Tournament berths and three SEC Tournament titles
- Villanova (Big East Conference) – The Wildcats are led by Coach Harry Perretta, one of the nation’s most accomplished coaches with 661 careers wins over the past 36 years
“The mission of the Gulf Coast Showcase is to annually showcase the best teams in women’s hoops,” said Debbie Antonelli, ESPN analyst and Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament Host. “Having such tremendous programs in only our second year has quickly established the tournament as the premier event in the nation. It will certainly be a March Madness atmosphere on the court and this tournament is a great addition to the women’s college basketball landscape.”
The event tips with an eight-team men’s tournament on Nov. 24-26, 2014 that will lead off the busy week of basketball in Southwest Florida.
All-session ticket packages for the 2014 Gulf Coast Showcase will go on-sale on Friday, April 18th at www.germainarena.com. Single session tickets will go on-sale to the public this summer once the tournament brackets are released. Preferred hotel accommodations for fans will be released later this month. For complete information, visit www.gulfcoastshowcase.com or follow on Twitter at @GCShowcase.
NCAA Tournament Teams
Four women’s teams from the inaugural 2013 Gulf Coast Showcase advanced to the NCAA Tournament with three of those teams winning their respective conference tournament. Middle Tennessee, champions of the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase, won the Conference USA Tournament and earned a No. 8 seed. James Madison won the Colonial Athletic Association crown to earn an 11-seed while Wright State took home the Horizon League title and was slotted as a 14-seed. NC State earned a bid as an at-large team and opened play as a 5-seed.
A host of conference honors were awarded to coaches and players participating in this past year’s and next season’s tournaments:
2013 Tournament Teams
- James Madison’s Kenny Brooks – Colonial Coach of the Year
- Middle Tennessee’s Ebony Rowe – Conference USA Player of the Year & Honorable Mention AP All-American
- Middle Tennessee’s Olivia Jones – Conference USA Freshman of the Year
- Wright State’s Kim Demmings – Horizon League Player of the Year
- James Madison’s Kirby Burkholder – Colonial Player of the Year
2014 Tournament Teams
- Connecticut women’s coach Geno Auriemma – American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year
- Green Bay women’s coach Kevin Borseth – Horizon League Coach of the Year
- San Francisco men’s coach Rex Walters – West Coast Conference Coach of the Year
- Green Bay men’s coach Brian Wardle – Horizon League Coach of the Year
- Green Bay’s Keifer Sykes – Horizon League Player of the Year
- Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart – American Athletic Conference Player of the Year & 2014 AP All-American
- Green Bay’s Tesha Buck – Horizon League Freshman of the Year