The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee is making a significant change to how it hosts the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.
The 2023 championship regional rounds will move from a four-host to a two-host format, with eight competing teams playing at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina, and eight at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.
The committee determined that each site would host two regional semifinal games March 24 and two March 25. In addition, each site will host a regional championship game March 26 and one March 27. Earlier rounds will be held at home venues for the top-ranked teams.
The committee also confirmed that the 68 teams participating in the 2023 championship will be announced on Selection Sunday, March 12, as part of the ESPN selection show.
“The committee spent a significant amount of time in determining the regional playing format and preferred playing location for the First Four games,” said Nina King, chair of the committee and vice president/director of athletics at Duke. “The decision to continue with top 16 sites hosting First Four games was backed by the positive feedback from the schools that participated in those games during the 2022 championship. We feel both decisions provide for the best student-athlete experience.”
The First Four opening-round games of the 2023 championship will take place March 15–16 on the campuses of teams seeded in the top 16, as it was in 2022.
The First Four, first and second rounds, and Selection Sunday will continue to be conducted in this format through 2027, with the committee conducting a preliminary-round format review after the 2025 championship.
Final Four Update
The committee also received a report on planning for the 2023 Women’s Final Four in Dallas, which will host the second joint Division I, II and III women’s basketball national championship games at the American Airlines Center over two days (April 1–2). Additionally, the committee received an update to the Women’s Final Four site selection process, which will conclude with the announcement of the 2027-2031 sites in November.
Beth Goetz, director of athletics at Ball State who is set to begin her fourth year on the committee, will serve as committee chair in 2022–2023. Lisa Peterson, deputy athletics director at Oregon, has been named vice chair for the coming season and will step into the chair position in 2023–2024. King served as chair the past two seasons and will be departing the committee Sept. 1.
“It’s such an important time for our sport and championship,” Goetz said. “The committee is dedicated to continue to work alongside the women’s basketball community and staff in making sure that we continue to serve as stewards for the NCAA tournament, one of the world’s greatest sporting events.”