LSU selected as 2014 NCAA women’s tourney host site

Once again, the road to the Women’s Final Four will start in Baton Rouge.

The NCAA announced first- and second-round and regional sites Wednesday for the 2014 NCAA women’s basketball tournament, selecting LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center for the third straight year.

First-round games at the PMAC will be either Saturday, March 22 or Sunday, March 23. Second-round games will be Monday, March 24 or Tuesday, March 25. Dates and ticket information will be announced at a later date.

This will be the 12th time LSU has been selected as an NCAA women’s tournament host site.

The Lady Tigers are 10-1 in NCAA first-round games at home. LSU is 16-3 all-time in NCAA women’s tournament games played in the PMAC.

Unlike the NCAA men’s tournament, in which teams are not allowed to play on their home floor, teams in the NCAA women’s tournament host teams are guaranteed to play at home if they receive a bid to the field of 64.

“Any time you get to host the NCAA tournament on your home floor, it’s an exciting experience for your fans and team,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said in to a univeristy news release. “We appreciate our administration and the NCAA for giving us this opportunity. It’s now our job to get there. Last year’s scene in the Maravich Center was unbelievable and something none of our players will ever forget.”

In March, LSU beat No. 20-ranked Green Bay 75-71 then upset No. 8-ranked Penn State 71-66 to advance to the Spokane Regional semifinals, the Lady Tigers’ first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008. The Lady Tigers beat Penn State despite having only seven healthy players available.

“Our goal is to get back there,” Caldwell said.

Expectations for another NCAA tournament run will be high for LSU.

The Lady Tigers return three senior starters led by Theresa Plaisance, a 6-5 forward who led the Southeastern Conference in scoring last season. The New Orleans native was named Tuesday to the Wade Trophy preseason watch list.

Also back are senior guard Jeanne Kenney from St. Michael the Archangel, senior forward Shanece McKinney and sophomore guard Danielle Ballard.

LSU also served as a host site for NCAA women’s first-round games in 1984, 1986 and 1987 and first- and-second round games in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013.

Regional sites for the 2014 tournament will be in Lincoln, Neb., Louisville, Ky., South Bend, Ind., and Stanford., Calif. Games will be played from March 29-April 1.

The 2014 Women’s Final Four will be played at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., April 6 and 8.