The Big 12 women’s basketball tournament is set for Dallas next season, and it will return to Oklahoma City in 2016.
After that, though? There are lots of possibilities, including Tulsa.
The Big 12 baseball tournament will be held there next year, and Dru Hancock, the Big 12’s senior associate commissioner and primary administrator for women’s sports, said that could help the city land a future women’s basketball tournament.
“Candidly, Tulsa had a great bid the last couple times,” Hancock said. “We’re sending our baseball championship there, sort of as a test run. If that goes well and the city supports that no matter who plays in it, that would certainly help them in possibly getting the women’s basketball championship. Right now it’s Oklahoma City and Dallas.”
The league is in its second year of having the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments split between two different weekends at two different sites. The men’s tournament will remain in Kansas City for the next couple years, and that didn’t work for the women.
“We are very happy with having them split up,” Hancock said. “This isn’t a knock against Kansas City; it’s just a fact: They didn’t have a great facility for the women. They didn’t support it very well in terms of attendance.
“Last year (splitting the tournaments) was kind of a grand adventure, but I think it’s turned out well for us. The coaches seem to like it, and then we don’t feel like we’re stepchildren in the same city when the men are playing in a nice, shiny arena.”
This marks the third year the Big 12 women’s tournament is in Oklahoma City, but the first time it is being held inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The first two times, the women played across the street in the Cox Center.
“What I like about this arena is that it makes the kids feel like they’re playing in a world-class facility,” Hancock said.