International Women’s Week: Big East Women’s Tournament Comes to Milwaukee
By Max Templin
MILWAUKEE — This year, Marquette University and the city of Milwaukee were able to land the hosting duties for the 2017 Big East Conference Tournament for women’s basketball. This is the first time that the tournament will be in Milwaukee, and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
The Marquette women’s basketball team is coming off one of their best regular seasons in the last decade, and certainly the best since third year coach, Carolyn Kieger, has been at the helm. The team has now won 23 games and is looking to have a strong showing in the conference tournament before preparing for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011.
“It’s great to see this team playing at such a high level, and being able to host the conference tournament this year will be a fantastic morale booster before the team heads off to the big dance,” said Andrew Koncel, a senior and long time fan of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Also, as if it were meant to be, the 4-day event will occur at the same time that Milwaukee celebrates International Women’s Day with a number of events in the downtown area.
As women’s sports continue to gain both popularity and proper funding, it is yet another reason to celebrate the progress that society has made enabling women to follow their passions, regardless of what they might be. It is now 45 years since Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments was passed, and it has become far more possible for women to pursue careers in athletics. The NCAA women’s basketball tournament has increased TV ratings each of the past 3 seasons.
“The fact that some people around campus can recognize the name Allazia Blockton or Danielle King, along with the stars of the men’s team, says a lot about how far women’s sports have come,” explained Koncel.
“The women’s soccer team also had a fantastic campaign and achieved a Big East conference championship this past November! Women’s sports are in great shape right now at Marquette.”
Along with the success of the soccer team, the women’s volleyball team also made a run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The men’s basketball team is still far and away the most popular team on campus and therefore brings in the most revenue. However, there has been an increase in attendance for women’s basketball and volleyball over the past 2 seasons as both programs have become extremely competitive within the conference.
The tournament will be played at the Al McGuire Center all weekend with the championship game set for Tuesday Night. Each game has already sold a substantial amount of tickets, and the championship is expected to sell out. Marquette is the number 3 overall seed and has a chance to earn its first conference title since 1995.