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Women's NCAA tournament will be played entirely in San Antonio, surrounding area

An official announcement is expected Friday. The move is intended to minimize travel, thus minimizing the COVID-19 threat.

SAN ANTONIO — The NCAA has announced that the entire women's NCAA basketball tournament will take place in San Antonio and the surrounding area.

The women's Final Four was scheduled for the Alamo City already, but now the entire tournament will take place here, with some of the early-round games being played in San Marcos and Austin as well.

This was something that has been in the works for some time, with the idea being to minimize travel -- thus minimizing the COVID-19 threat.

The NCAA confirmed the plan in a release on Friday.

"We appreciate the historical significance of moving the entire championship to one region and want to acknowledge the work by the Women’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts, local organizers and ESPN that has allowed us to make plans for a successful 2021 championship,” said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of women’s basketball.

The Alamodome, which is expected to host the three Final Four games in the final weekend of the tournament, is currently serving as a no-cost mass COVID-19 vaccine site. City officials are able to vaccinate approximately 1,500 persons per day at the site.

“We’re fortunate to be working with San Antonio, which features one of the most experienced local organizing committees in the country, and our No. 1 priority is to focus on creating and implementing safety controls in an environment for student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and everyone else associated with the championship.”

“San Antonio was already poised to successfully host the NCAA Women’s Final Four this year, but to bring all 64 teams in this prestigious championship tournament to our city is a remarkable opportunity for our event and hospitality industry,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I can assure the NCAA and the teams we will deliver the best, safest and most memorable experience possible.”

In December, the NCAA announced they were planning to stage the entire tournament in one geographic area. At the time, San Antonio was considered the likely host site. The NCAA men's tournament will be held entirely in Indianapolis.

The NCAA expects the women's tournament to kick off on March 21 and end with a championship game at the Alamodome on April 4.

Meanwhile, Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger said Thursday night that hosting the tournament at the Alamodome, which is still operating as a mass vaccination site, would not impede those efforts. 

"We have a contingency plan to coexist where we’d continue to provide vaccinations at the Alamodome and allow the basketball events to take place," Bridger said. "We’re not at all worried about – if they choose to come – if that will adversely affect us.”