NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09: Geno Auriemma, head coach of the Connecticut Huskies, cuts down the net following a victory over the Louisville Cardinals in the National Final game of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at New Orleans Arena on April 9, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The NCAA announced Thursday that starting in 2017 the women's Final Four will go to a Friday/Saturday schedule, while preliminary rounds will follow a Friday-Monday setup beginning in 2015.
The decision was reached by the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, which has been looking for ways to enhance the women's basketball game experience.
More details via SNY.com's Carl Adamec:
The Division I women’s basketball committee previously recommended the changes based on feedback from fans, who expressed displeasure with having to attend games on weeknights, the press release said. Committee and cabinet members believe the changes will increase attendance, improving the championship experience for participating student-athletes. ...
Under the new structure, the first games of the tournament will take place on a Friday, with winners of those games meeting each other on Sunday; the other first-round games will take place the Saturday of that weekend, with those winners meeting each other on Monday. The same schedule will be followed during the regional round the next weekend, with the remaining 16 teams battling for spots in the Final Four.
The semifinal rounds of the Final Four will continue to be played on a Sunday for the next three years, with the championship game falling on a Tuesday, the day after the men's NCAA finals.
As Adamec notes, the Sunday-Tuesday format has been in place since 2002. Prior to that, the Friday-Sunday format for the Final Four was used from 1996-2002.