San Antonio and the surrounding region will play host to the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
The tournament will feature 64 teams competing from March 21 through April 4 to earn the right to hoist the national championship trophy at the Alamodome, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced Friday.
“We appreciate the historical significance of moving the entire championship to one region and want to acknowledge the work by the Women’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts, local organizers and ESPN that has allowed us to make plans for a successful 2021 championship,” said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of women’s basketball.
“We’re fortunate to be working with San Antonio, which features one of the most experienced local organizing committees in the country, and our No. 1 priority is to focus on creating and implementing safety controls in an environment for student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and everyone else associated with the championship.”
“San Antonio was already poised to successfully host the NCAA Women’s Final Four this year, but to bring all 64 teams in this prestigious championship tournament to our city is a remarkable opportunity for our event and hospitality industry,” added San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I can assure the NCAA and the teams we will deliver the best, safest and most memorable experience possible.”
Six championship rounds featuring 63 games will be played using five venues and six courts in San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, Texas, with the Alamodome hosting two of those courts. The NCAA is currently in discussions for games to be played at the following venues and schedule: First-round play will take place March 21-22 at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s (Texas), Frank Erwin Center (Texas), University Events Center (Texas State) and the UTSA Convocation Center. Second-round play will shift entirely to venues in San Antonio, with the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena and the UTSA Convocation Center playing host March 23-24. The championship will shift to the Alamodome for all remaining rounds, with the Sweet 16 games played March 27-28, Elite Eight games held March 29-30 and the Women’s Final Four conducted April 2 and 4.
Diamond Health will serve as the testing provider for the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and will be responsible for testing within the controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrators and officials. The NCAA will continue to work closely with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District on approved medical protocols shared by the NCAA and will continue collaborating leading up to and during the championship. No decision has been made on fan attendance at this time. If general public attendance is determined appropriate, the attendance policy will follow the established local guidelines.
The committee will announce the 64-team championship bracket at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Selection Monday, March 15, on ESPN. Official team travel parties with a maximum of 34 individuals will arrive Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 17, in San Antonio. All teams will be housed in hotels in San Antonio and other areas of Bexar County. The hotels will be used exclusively for teams and other Tier 1 tested individuals. Practices will take place using nine courts that will be set up in the downtown Henry B. González Convention Center, plus the two in the nearby Alamodome.
“Like the 2020-21 season, we know the championship will have its challenges, but we feel we have the necessary structure and safeguards in place to ensure a quality student-athlete championship experience,” said Nina King, senior deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke and chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. “We appreciate all the work by those in San Antonio and by the NCAA staff to get to this point. We feel certain that one geographic region allows us to focus on the potential benefits of conducting certain safety measures in a controlled environment with competition and practice venues, medical resources and lodging for teams and officials all within close proximity.”
For the 19th consecutive year, an ESPN channel will broadcast all 63 games of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. While specific game times and channels will be announced later for all preliminary-round games, viewers can expect games to be played in the traditional championship broadcast windows, with every game of all rounds carried in full national on ESPN networks. This year will mark the 26th straight year (since 1996) that ESPN has served as the championship’s exclusive television home. All games will be available online via the ESPN app.
“We are extremely honored that the NCAA has chosen San Antonio and the surrounding region for this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship,” said Jenny Carnes, San Antonio Sports senior vice president and chief operating officer. “The confidence they have in San Antonio speaks volumes about our team, experience and what we can offer the event to ensure a safe and successful tournament.”
2021 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Dates and Anticipated Sites
ROUNDDATES | HOST(S) | HOST VENUE/CITY
FIRST ROUND | March 21 and 22 | UIW | Alamodome, San Antonio (Two courts)
FIRST ROUND | March 21 and 22 | Houston and St. Mary’s (TX) | Bill Greehey Arena, San Antonio
FIRST ROUND | March 21 and 22 | Texas | Frank Erwin Center, Austin
FIRST ROUND | March 21 and 22 | Texas St. | University Events Center, San Marcos
FIRST ROUND | March 21 and 22 | UTSA | UTSA Convocation Center, San Antonio
SECOND ROUND | March 23 and 24 | UIW | Alamodome, San Antonio (Two courts)
SECOND ROUND | March 23 and 24 | Houston and St. Mary’s (TX) | Bill Greehey Arena, San Antonio
SECOND ROUND | March 23 and 24 | UTSA | UTSA Convocation Center, San Antonio
SWEET 16 | March 27 and 28 | UIW and UTSA | Alamodome, San Antonio (Two courts)
ELITE EIGHT | March 29 and 30 UIW and UTSA | Alamodome, San Antonio (Two courts)
NATIONAL SEMIFINALS | April 2UIW, UTSA and San Antonio Sports | Alamodome, San Antonio
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP | April 4 | UIW, UTSA and San Antonio Sports | Alamodome, San Antonio