June 20, 2000
MAUI – Led by the University of Tennessee, a perennial national title contender and 2000 NCAA Tournament runner-up, the inaugural Women’s Maui basketball tournament moves to the head of the class of pre-season tournaments.
The Lady Vols will be joined by the University of Illinois, Clemson University and Alcorn State University, meaning the first-year event boasts four teams coming off NCAA tournament appearances.
The tournament will be held November 24 – 25, 2000, at the Lahaina Civic Center on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The Women’s Maui is hosted by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and Hawaii’s Chaminade University.
Chaminade also hosts the men’s Maui Invitational Tournament played November 20 – 22, 2000, also at the Lahaina Civic Center. Now in its 17th season, the men’s Maui is considered by many college basketball experts to be the premier basketball tournament.
“Chaminade is very excited to launch the Women’s Maui,” explains Sue Wesselkamper, the president of Chaminade University. “The men’s Maui has done so much to advance recognition of our university and men’s college basketball. We hope the Women’s Maui will do the same to raise the profile of women’s sports. Hosting these top programs at our inaugural tournament should immediately propel this event to great success.”
Beth Bass, executive director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association states, “The Women’s Maui is an excellent opportunity to promote women’s basketball. The WBCA is thrilled to be partners with Chaminade University to create such an exciting vehicle to showcase our great sport.”
The Teams at a Glance
During the 1999 – 2000 campaign, the four teams finished a combined 97-36. Heading into the 2000 – 2001 season Tennessee, Illinois and Clemson are expected to be consensus pre-season Top 25 teams.
Jim Davis’ Clemson Lady Tigers (19-12) dropped a second round tourney game to eventual national champion Connecticut on the Huskies home court. The Lady Tigers have won the ACC twice in the past five seasons and have played in the post-season in 12 of Davis’ 13 years there at Clemson.
Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, a class of 2000 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and the Naismith Coach of the Century, has led her school to the postseason in each of her 26 seasons, including a record-tying 12 NCAA Final Fours (with UCLA’s John Wooden). Will motivation be an issue for this year’s squad after finishing last season 33-4? Not likely. The Lady Vols are hungry for Summitt’s seventh national title after a loss to the University of Connecticut in the title game.
The Illinois Fighting Illini (23-11 in 1999 – 2000) are headed by Theresa Grentz, the 1992 Women’s Olympic Team coach and owner of 560 victories at Illinois and Rutgers and St. Joseph’s Universities. She joined the Illini four seasons ago and after just one rebuilding year, the Illini have advanced to the NCAA’s each of the past three years, including two Sweet 16 trips. Grentz believes this is her strongest Illinois team yet.
The Alcorn State Lady Braves (22-9), led by another legendary coach in Shirley Walker, won their first SWAC championship before falling in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. For their outstanding season, they were named National Black College Champs by Black College Sports Report.
New Oxygen Network to Broadcast Women’s Maui Live
Cable network Oxygen, will carry the championship game live nationally on November 25 at 5 p.m. EST. The tournament will be featured as part of Oxygen’s “We Sweat” program and will be a landmark for the network – billed as “A Woman’s View of the World” – as their first live sports event broadcast.
Those interested in travel packages should contact Oahu Travel (800.826.3822), the official travel agent for the Women’s Maui. School boosters may also contact their school’s athletic department or alumni association.
More Women’s Maui ticket, schedule and general information will be available on-line at www.womensmaui.com.
The 2000 Women’s Maui, produced by KemperLesnik Communications, will feature two first-round games November 24 and championship and consolation games on November 25, 2000. The championship will be televised live on Oxygen at 5 p.m. EST. All games will be played at the Lahaina Civic Center on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.
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