Jacksonville to host 2016 SEC Tournament, MSU to participate in 2014 Preseason WNIT
Mississippi State women's coach Vic Schaefer directs his team on the court last season. (Photo by Lee Adams)
Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer has tournament basketball on his mind.
On Wednesday, the Southeastern Conference announced that the site for the 2016 SEC Women's Tournament will be in Jacksonville, Fla.
This will be the first time that Jacksonville and the Sunshine State have hosted a SEC Women's Tournament.
Although Schaefer is curious to find out how Jacksonville will handle the tournament, he said the mission of the SEC is to find a permanent home for the event.
"That's our challenge right now," Schaefer said. "The conference wants to do something similar to what baseball does and the men have done in Nashville."
Hoover, Ala., has hosted the SEC Baseball Tournament for the last several years, while Nashville has been a frequent site for the men's basketball tournament.
Nashville will hold women's tournaments in 2018, 2022 and 2026, while Little Rock has it in 2015.
"We're trying hard to find that site that can really grow our game and conference," Schaefer said. "We're excited about the opportunity to go to those two venues in the next couple of years and Jacksonville will certainly be a new venue."
Jacksonville's Veteran Memorial Arena is a multi-purpose building that seats 15,000.
"We look forward to showcasing our women's basketball programs in the Sunshine State for the first time," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Our student-athletes, coaches and current fans will greatly enjoy their visit. The exciting games will forge new fans of SEC women's basketball in the process."
Jacksonville will also bring in a women's tournament during the regular season that will involve two SEC teams in November 2015. Details on that event will be released later.
One tournament the Bulldogs know they will be a part of is the 2014 Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament.
As announced Wednesday, MSU will be making its second appearance in the 16-team field. Other schools invited are Albany, Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Colorado, Eastern Kentucky, Jackson State, Mercer, North Dakota, Penn State, Rider, Seton Hall, St. Francis Brooklyn, Townson, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.
"It's a very prestigious event and we are very excited to be a part of it," Schaefer said.
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