NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship
For the first time since 1989, the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship returns to the Kansas City area, making its home the Independence Events Center in Independence, Mo., starting March 18 and running through March 24. Thirty-two teams will take the court with hopes and dreams of winning the coveted NAIA championship banner. However, just like the men’s national championship that has called Municipal Auditorium home for the past 50-plus years, the road isn’t easy, as there are 31 games played over the course of seven days en route to crowning a national champion. First team to win five games wins it all!
The NAIA has sponsored the 32-team, single-elimination championship tournament since 1981, when the inaugural event was held in Kansas City. The City of Fountains was the home of NAIA women’s basketball from 1981-83 and 1986-89, before being held in Jackson, Tenn., for 22 years and Frankfort, Ky., for the past three.
Much of the desire for bringing the event to Independence was a combination of the state-of-the-art venue in the Independence Events Centers (IEC) and the excitement of the local organizing committee, which includes leadership from NAIA-member William Woods University (Mo.).
The student-athlete experience is always front-of-mind when it comes to national championship site selection, which is why a venue that has hosted numerous national, collegiate and youth championships – in addition to being the home of the Missouri Mavericks and Missouri Comets – was so appealing.
If you haven’t been inside the IEC, get ready to be impressed! The arena itself is 75,000 square feet with 5,800 seats, including a premium lounge, club and suite seating. It also includes all the bells and whistles – digital scoreboards, video boards, spotlights, etc. – to take the championship experience for everyone involved to the next level.
On December 10, the City of Independence Tourism Department and the NAIA brought on-board Susan G. Komen® Greater Kansas City as the 2015 event title sponsor. Susan G. Komen® has funded more than $800 million in breast cancer research and more than $1.7 billion in screening, education, treatment, etc. for those in need. This outreach makes it the largest breast cancer organization in the world. The partnership between the three groups is a natural fit that will surely benefit all parties involved.
Championship tickets went on sale February 1 and can be purchased at www.TicketMaster.com or at the Silverstein Box Office, located at the East entrance of the Independence Events Center. Here’s a breakdown of the event ticket pricing:
- All-Tournament Pass: $75
- Adult: $10
- Student (with ID): $7
- Child (ages 5-11): $5
- Family Pack: 4 single-session tickets, parking pass & $20 in concessions – $50
- Military: $7
- Senior: $7
- Independence School District Student: $5
- 5-and-under: FREE
- $5 ticket if you show your stub or all-tournament pass from the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship
- $5 ticket if you show a ticket stub from a Missouri Mavericks or Missouri Comets game
- $5 ticket with 2-or-more can goods, to be donated to Community Services League
- $50 All-Tournament pass with 2-or-more canned goods
We also have some great themes lined out for each day:
Wednesday, March 18 – Susan G. Komen® PINK OUT (free tickets for breast cancer survivors)
Thursday, March 19 – Early Education Day (free tickets for teachers and students)
Friday, March 20 – Seniors Day
Saturday, March 21 – Independence School District Day (free tickets for district students)
Monday, March 23 – Nonprofits Day (tickets for Kansas City area nonprofit organizations)
Tuesday, March 24 – Educator Appreciation Night (free tickets for faculty at any level)
The NAIA and City of Independence cannot express how excited we are to have this championship back in the home of great college basketball.
Events like these don’t run without the help of hundreds of volunteers. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for the 2015 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, fill out the information form at http://www.visitindependence.com/naia2015/volunteer.
We hope you’ll come out and join us for what will be a great event this March. Also, don’t forget to follow all the action via Twitter by following @NAIA_News or on Facebook at PlayNAIA.
By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information, NAIA