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WBB: MVC Moving to Quad Cities

MOLINE, Ill. –- The Missouri Valley Conference announced Thursday it has entered an agreement with the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau to bring the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament to the iWireless Center through at least 2018. The MVC Presidents Council, following a recommendation of the league’s Joint Committee, voted to place the tournament in the Quad Cities after considering bids from multiple sites.

The agreement is for three years (March 10-13, 2016; March 9-12, 2017; and March 8-11, 2018), with the league holding a two-year option for 2019 and 2020.

“The Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament is one of the league’s premier championships and it’s fitting that we are partnering with the Quad Cities, a premier destination, and conducting the event at the iWireless Center, a first class facility,” said Patty Viverito, Senior Associate Commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference. “Our teams and fans are going to love all that the Quad Cities area has to offer.”

Starting in 2016, the 10-team event will take place at the iWireless Center, March 10-13. The championship weekend begins with two opening-round games on Thursday. Four quarterfinal games will tip-off at noon on Friday, with the semifinals on Saturday afternoon and the championship title game on Sunday afternoon. All nine games will be available on ESPN3.

When the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament tips off in Quad Cities in 2016, it will mark the ninth consecutive season in its 34-year history that the event will take place at a neutral site. The Valley will have played its postseason championship in St. Charles, Mo. – at The Family Arena – for eight-straight seasons, culminating with the 2015 event from March 12-15. The Missouri Valley Conference is one of only eight conferences where the women’s basketball championship is played at a neutral site, separate from the men’s championship.

One of the premier women’s basketball leagues in the country, the Missouri Valley Conference has seen an average of four league teams participate in postseason play in each of the last 10 seasons. The Valley has earned multiple NCAA Tournament bids in 10 different seasons, with the last two-bid year coming in 2012-13. The league has also had two Final Four teams (Missouri State, in both 1992 and 2001), a WNIT champion (Missouri State, 2005) and three WNIT semifinal appearances (Illinois State, in 2011, 2010 and 2009).

The history of Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball is filled with notable alumni, including the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer (Jackie Stiles, Missouri State, 1998-2001) and the NCAA’s all-time leader in career rebounding average (Wanda Ford, Drake, 1983-86) – both members of the league’s Hall of Fame. In addition to Stiles and Ford, five other women’s basketball figures have been inducted into the MVC’s Hall of Fame, including Melody Howard (Missouri State), Cathy Boswell (Illinois State), Carole Baumgarten (Drake), Lorri Bauman (Drake) and Cheryl Burnett (Missouri State).

“The Quad Cities is pleased to be able to showcase our community by hosting a major sports event like the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament,” said Joe Taylor, President/CEO of Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. “One of the reasons we are particularly proud to host is that conference representatives immediately demonstrated an attitude of partnership and appreciation in working with our community. I know the Quad Cities will be a great host for this great event.”

Since opening its doors in May of 1993, the state-of-the-art iWireless Center has continually been recognized as an outstanding venue for sporting events, concerts or family shows, welcoming over 500,000 guests each year. The arena has a seating capacity of just over 9,000 for sporting events, and has extensive experience in hosting college basketball games, NHL and NBA exhibition contests, minor league hockey and arena football games. The Mid-Continent Conference (now Summit League) held its men’s basketball conference tournament at the iWireless Center from 1996-99, and the Quad City Thunder basketball team of the Continental Basketball Associations also played its home games at the arena for six seasons (1993-98).
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