February 17, 2024 

Women’s Champions Classic to take place at Barclays Center in December

Recently announced early-season event will include UConn, Louisville, Iowa and Tennessee.

On Thursday, FOX Sports and Horizon Sports and Entertainment announced a new early-season women’s college basketball showcase called the Women’s Champions Classic. The event will take place on Dec. 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, featuring UConn, Louisville, Iowa and Tennessee. The doubleheader will be televised on FOX Sports.

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“The Women’s Champions Classic is the next step in FOX Sports’ longstanding commitment to elevating women’s athletics, and we are eager to showcase these student-athletes at the highest level – in primetime on the FOX broadcast network,” Executive Vice President of FOX Sports Jordan Bazant said in a press release. “Alongside our partners at HS&E, the exceptional participating schools and their conferences, we could not be more excited to bring the Women’s Champions Classic to college hoops fans around the nation.” 

Between the four teams competing in the event, there have been 19 NCAA Division I championships, 46 Final Four appearances and over 120 conference titles.

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The Huskies have been one of the most successful programs in the history of women’s basketball, boasting an NCAA record of 11 national championships, which includes four consecutive wins from 2013 to 2016.

“We’re very excited to have the Women’s Champions Classic on our schedule for the foreseeable future,” head coach Geno Auriemma said in a press release. “There’s never been a higher level of interest in women’s basketball. The Champions Classic will give fans exciting, marquee matchups early in the season.”

During senior night after the Huskies’ win over Georgetown on Friday, Aubrey Griffin and Paige Bueckers, the 2021 Naismith College Player of the Year winner, announced their intention to return to the team for the next season, which will have major impacts on this new event as well as women’s basketball as a whole.

“This will not be my last senior night at UConn,” Bueckers said in front of UConn fans at Gampel Pavillion.

The Hawkeyes made their second Final Four appearance last season, and their first appearance since 1993. They have won 15 combined Big Ten titles in the regular season and conference tournament. On Thursday, senior guard Caitlin Clark surpassed former Washington Huskies guard Kelsey Plum to break the NCAA Division I record in the team’s home win over Michigan.

Louisville has made four appearances in the Final Four – including appearances in the 2009 and 2013 title games – with their most recent Final Four appearance in 2022. They are the only team to advance to the last five Elite Eights and collected a combined 15 ACC regular season and conference tournament titles.

Tennessee has the most wins in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history with 1,466 and has won eight national championships. They also appeared in the Final Four 18 times and have combined 35 regular season and SEC titles.

“Interest in women’s sports continues to experience exponential growth and basketball is leading the way with viewership and attendance records continually being set,” Co-CEO of HS&E David Levy said in a press release. “This moment feels like the right time to launch the Women’s Champions Classic, set in the mecca of basketball, and we are proud to have these four storied programs participate in our inaugural event.

“The Women’s Champions Classic will serve as a platform to showcase the remarkable talent and unwavering dedication of these teams and student-athletes in primetime on FOX, captivating audiences far and wide. Together with our partners at FOX, we look forward to igniting excitement and celebration around women’s basketball while honoring the exceptional student-athletes who make it shine.”

On Thursday, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee revealed the top 16 seeds so far this season, as the top 16 teams host first and second-round games in the NCAA Tournament. Iowa, UConn and Louisville were included in that reveal, while Tennessee was not.

Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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