Feb. 24, 2012
By Stephen Trembley/Lauren Albertson
By Stephen Trembley/Lauren Albertson
FRESNO, Calif. - The road to the Final Four runs through Fresno this March.
There are only four regional sites in the country that are selected to host, and during this March Madness, the city of Fresno will be in the limelight for the entire nation to see.
"This is a huge opportunity to showcase the city as a whole and to gain national recognition to highlight everything that the city and Central Valley has to offer," NCAA Fresno Regional Communications Director Ryan Reggiani said.
Notes About the 2012 NCAA Fresno Regional
Television: ESPN (all three games)
Who: 64 teams to be announced on Selection Monday, March 12 (Four teams total)
What: NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament (Sweet 16 and Elite Eight)
When: March 24th (two games) & March 26th (one game)
Where: Save Mart Center
"We will experience the intensity of the NCAA Tournament action right in our own backyard," Reggiani added. "Every game played at the Save Mart Center will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN and this is our chance to show the country what Fresno is all about."
NCAA Tournament Quick Facts about Fresno State and the Save Mart Center
- Hosted the 1st and 2nd Rounds of the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament
- In 2007, hosted the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Regional (UConn, LSU, NC State and Florida State)
- 29 days left until the Sweet 16 action kicks off in Fresno
- Four sites hosting Regionals (Fresno, Calif.; Des Moines, Iowa; Kingston, R.I.; Raleigh, N.C.)
- The current top West Coast team is No. 2 Stanford. NCAA keeps team within their region; highest odds of playing in Fresno.
- Only regional to carry an exclusive Family Plan for only $99 for four all-session passes. All tickets are affordable. Tickets available online at gobulldogs.com or by calling 278-DOGS
Fresno State will host the 2012 Women's Basketball Regional Semifinals and Finals on March 24 and 26 at the Save Mart Center.
Fresno State Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin talked with the media on Friday morning.
Press Conference Quotes: Boeh & Swearengin - 02/24/12
Paul Ladwig, Fresno State Sr. Assoc. Athletics Director/External Relations
"Good morning everybody, this is something really big. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this event for this city, this university and this athletic department. The amount of national exposure that we're going to receive because of this event, as I was talking to Michael earlier this morning, you can't put a number on it. There's no way to really figure out the value of what this means to the city, hosting the women's NCAA Basketball tournament March 24 and 26. What we really want to do is create something; we want to create March Madness in this city. We want to create that atmosphere, that excitement that it brings to your area, to your community, to the people that are here and obviously we're having a little excitement going on with our own women's basketball team. It's very, very, very special. If you're driving down the 99 you're going to see the billboards talking about the Final Four going through Fresno. When you listen to the radio you're going to hear the spots; we have television. Everything's going, from the Web, we're trying to create March Madness, we want to create March Madness, we want this community to feel March Madness. We have the perfect building to do this in and there's only four places in the country that get to do this and the winner of this event goes to the Final Four. It really and truly doesn't get anything bigger than this. This is a big event. The NCAA [tournament] is a big event and our city gets to host this. It's very, very special."
Thomas Boeh, Fresno State Director of Athletics
"Thank you for being here this morning, this is a fun day. The Fresno State athletic staff and Steve Tadlock and his people here at the Save Mart Center are very, very good at putting on major sporting events and events of this nature. The NCAA Championships Committee and those that make decisions of where these things go, know that. They've seen that where we started with the first and second round in 2005 and hosted this regional in 2007. You may recall we had Florida State, North Carolina State, UConn and LSU here for that and that did lead to LSU moving on to the Final Four. We had an exceptional outing with the NCAA; they truly appreciated the quality of our staff, the quality of the facility and we're here to show that off on a national stage one more time. We can show off the Save Mart Center; we can show off the community, the quality of our community and most importantly one of the things that we hope that we show is the quality of our fan base and the Red Wave when they come out and support this."
"And when we talk about the teams that have the capacity to be here this year, they're the usual suspects: Notre Dame; UConn; Duke; Ohio State; right now the top team in the west is Stanford. With all seriousness we're hoping Stanford makes it here; that would be a great draw as they're the top team in the west right now. They told you when you were little kids you had to be careful who your friends were because you are who you hang out with, and the reality is we're hanging out with, and hosting in fact, the nation's elite. That is very important to Fresno State, that is very important to our community, and it's certainly important to our athletics department, that we continue to solidify that we are worthy of being associated with the elite athletic programs and universities in the country. This is just an extension of that. Paul mentioned that going on right now, Adrian Wiggins team last night, you may know is in Hawaii, and they clinched their fifth WAC title. They are now sitting at 23-4 and doing extremely well 11-0 in the WAC and we're looking to build even further momentum as we go into the WAC Tournament down in Las Vegas. We hope that that kind of excitement that has been built around our women's basketball program here, our community has discovered what women's basketball really can be and the quality of that event that translates to this regional because it really is an exciting event and quite frankly its one of the NCAAs biggest events of the year. We've done a couple of things here...to make this affordable for our community. We are the only regional to have an all-session pass for just $99 for four; that is an exceptional value to see the very best women's basketball in the country, these are future Olympians, these are the best in the world and they're going to be here and we have a chance to see them. We have a lot of affordable tickets, one can go to Gobulldogs.com and check out the options and we hope the community steps up and the Red Wave comes out and supports this event, because it hopefully will be one of many into the future. I would like to thank, on behalf of our department, thank our partners in this, specifically Lotus, Wilkes, ESPN 1430, and KYNO and K-Jewel as well as the Fresno and Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau and CBS Outdoor. As Paul mentioned, you'll be seeing more in the next couple of weeks; this launches our splash into the campaign to make folks aware of this tournament here in just a few weeks. With that, one of the things we have here and are very fortunate to have in Fresno, and one of the things that makes this a special event is that we have support of the community all across the board, including at the very top of our community. It is our great honor to have the support of Mayor Swearengin."
Ashley Swearengin, City of Fresno Mayor and Fresno State alumnae
"Thank you Thomas and good morning to all of you. I am so proud to be able to stand here today and say that the road to the Final Four goes through Fresno this year. This is a big, big deal and something that we should all support and be so proud of and I can tell you it does make me proud of my university [Fresno State] that I graduated from, twice, to see our university put on the national stage. And of course to see the city of Fresno elevated right along with the university. This means so much to us, and Fresno this is our chance to shine so we're going to do that. We're going to prove that we are a great location for these kinds of events and guarantee that future events like this come to Fresno. Let's not miss this opportunity to showcase our city. We know that the economic benefit to the city of Fresno is great; every hotel room will likely be filled, or many of them; restaurants will be packed; gas stations will have lines of cars trying to get fueled up. Many local businesses will be positively impacted as a result of the tournament being here and it's a great way for Fresnans to introduce themselves to other regions of the country as people come and visit here and perhaps they'll think about coming back because Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, all the great amenities we have right here in Fresno can all be put on display. It is with great pleasure that we welcome the NCAA regional tournament and, in fact, we want to declare that coming up on the special days of the tournament, March 24 and 26, we declare in the city of Fresno, that it is NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Fresno Regional Day. It's official, the city of Fresno has put its stamp of approval on this event. And to all of the Fresnans out there and those in the central valley I say, come on out, support Fresno State, support this program, women's basketball and let's make sure that we put our best foot forward. Thanks to Fresno State for making this possible and we look forward to the tournament."
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