USF Women’s Hoops To Play First-Ever Game In St. Pete Times Forum: 2008 NCAA Women’s Final Four Logo to be Unveiled

USF Women’s Hoops To Play First-Ever Game In St. Pete Times Forum: 2008 NCAA Women’s Final Four Logo to be Unveiled

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of South Florida women’s basketball team will play its first-ever game in the St. Pete Times Forum, this season, when it faces Vanderbilt on Sunday, December 17 at 3pm.

The contest will be the first game of a men’s and women’s college basketball doubleheader with the nightcap pitting defending NCAA champion Florida against in-state foe Florida A&M at 6 p.m. Additionally the NCAA, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, and USF, will unveil the 2008 NCAA Women’s Final Four logo on the court, where the Women’s Final Four will be played less than 16 months later.

“Our Women’s Final Four logo will serve as the constant reminder of the incredible partnership that we have forged with the NCAA that insures the student-athletes and all involved take away memories that will last a lifetime when they leave Tampa Bay in April of 2008,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “We feel that this premier doubleheader will serve as the ideal backdrop to give our community its first glimpse at the branding mark that will hopefully represent the best Women’s Final Four ever.”

The USF women’s basketball team is coming off the most memorable season in the program’s history. The Bulls finished with a 19-12 record and a 9-7 slate in their first year in the BIG EAST Conference. In addition, USF advanced to their first-ever NCAA Tournament earning a No. 9 seed in the Bridgeport Region. It faced the No. 8 seed USC in the first round in Norfolk, VA, losing to the Women of Troy 67-65.

“I think it is a great step for our program and our community,” said USF Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jose Fernandez. “With everything surrounding Tampa Bay and USF hosting the Final Four in 2008 at the St. Pete Times Forum, we are certainly excited to play in a place like that. It’s a great facility that the area has embraced with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s success and it is a pleasure to be playing there this year against Vanderbilt. I also want to thank the Tampa Bay Sports Commission for making it possible as well.”

“The University of South Florida is pleased to be able to play it’s part in bringing one of the top NCAA events to the Tampa Bay area, The Women’s Final Four in 2008,” said Doug Woolard, USF Director of Athletics. “Our game with Vanderbilt, as well as the unveiling of the Final Four logo, will prove to be the beginning of something very special.”

Additionally, on Friday, December 29 the Times Forum will be the site of a BIG EAST-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) doubleheader as Florida State will host Providence and the USF men’s team will host. The doubleheader will give both Wake Forest and Florida State an opportunity to play in the arena before they return in March, 2007 for the ACC Tournament.

“We are pleased to add the USF-Vanderbilt women’s game and the Final Four logo unveiling to our Florida-Florida A&M matchup,” said Ron Campbell, president of the St. Pete Times Forum. “Our community is fortunate enough to be hosting some great collegiate championships over the next several years and the Women’s Final Four in 2008 is a priority event for us. We are excited to begin work soon to ensure unprecedented success for the NCAA, its student-athletes, member institutions and the fans of the women’s game.”

Tickets are on sale now at the MCDONALDS’ BOX OFFICE at the St. Pete Times Forum and all Ticketmaster Outlets including Spec’s Music and FYE. To order tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at 813.287.8844 or 727.898.2100, or log onto www.ticketmaster.com Tickets for this event will be part of the 2006-2007 USF women’s season ticket package. General admission pricing is $10, plus applicable service charges. USF students will receive free admission with student ID at the box office on gameday. Anyone attending the USF-Vanderbilt matchup will be permitted to stay for the Florida-Floida A&M game which starts at 6:00pm. Reserved seating is also available for both games at $30, $25 and $15, plus applicable service charges.

Beginning with the ACC Tournament in 2007, the Times Forum is scheduled to play host to some of the top collegiate events in the nation during the next several years, including the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2008, the first and second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in 2008, the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship in 2009, the NCAA Volleyball Championship in 2009 and the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012.

The USF Women’s Basketball team opens the 2006-07 regular season on Nov. 10 when it faces Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 7 p.m at the Sun Dome.