Newly crowned national champion LSU headlines an impressive field in the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic women’s college basketball tournament, announced by Caymax Sports Ltd.
The Tigers are one of four schools ranked in the top 13 of the final USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll which will play in the eight-team tournament to be held Nov. 24-25 at John Gray Gymnasium, just minutes away from world famous Seven Mile Beach.
The tournament field includes No. 4 ranked Virginia Tech, which also played in the Final Four, along with No. 9 UConn and No. 13 UCLA, plus Kansas, which captured the recent WNIT championship. Niagara, Tulane and Virginia round out the field.
“We are excited to showcase these incredible teams,” said Joanne P. McCallie, Executive Tournament Director. “The development of this inaugural tournament speaks to Caymax Sports and their commitment to the spirit of Title IX while featuring the very best in women’s basketball competition.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such incredible teams and coaches,” McCallie added. “This is a special field with programs that have a rich tradition in women’s basketball and will set the standard for future tournaments.”
“The Cayman Islands is very proud to be the host destination for the prestigious women’s D1 basketball tournament,” said the Honorable Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands. “This tournament brings elite U.S. women’s college basketball teams to our shores and the Department of Tourism recognizes the event’s magnitude for attracting new visitors to the country. We look forward to extending our Cayman kindness to the visiting teams and fans to ensure their time with us will be memorable.”
“The quality and rich tradition of these participating teams will make this inaugural edition of the Cayman Islands Classic the premier preseason women’s college basketball tournament this year,” added Joe Wright, chief executive officer for Caymax Sports Ltd.
LSU defeated Iowa, 102-85 in the championship game of the NCAA Women’s Tournament Sunday in Dallas, Texas, with the game averaging 9.9 million television viewers for the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever.
LSU (34-2), the No. 3 seed in the Greenville Region after finishing the regular season second in the SEC, erased a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit with a 22-3 run in the national semifinal to defeat No. 1-seed Virginia Tech, 79-72.
On the road to the Women’s Final Four, the Tigers defeated No. 14 Hawai’i and No. 6 Michigan at the Maravich Center, before knocking off No. 2-seeded Utah and No. 9-seeded Miami to advance to Dallas.
It was the fourth championship in as many title game appearances in Kim Mulkey’s coaching career (previous wins at Baylor in 2005, 2012 and 2019), as she became the first women’s basketball coach to win NCAA championships at multiple schools.
UConn, under Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma, is the most successful women’s basketball program in the nation, having won a record 11 NCAA Division I National Championships and a women’s record four in a row, from 2013 through 2016.
The Huskies have taken part in every NCAA tournament since 1989 including a record 14 consecutive Final Fours. UConn recorded a 31-6 mark this season advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Tech accomplished many firsts this year: 31 wins, an ACC championship, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and appearances in the Elite Eight and Final Four before falling to eventual national champ LSU in the semifinal round.
UCLA went 27-10 this past season — the most wins at the school since 2017-18 — while advancing to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2023 March Madness Tournament before falling to top-seeded and defending national champion South Carolina, 59-43.
Kansas capped off a 25-11 season by winning the program’s first-ever WNIT championship with a 66-59 win over Columbia.
Tulane posted an 18-14 record this past season, while playing in the WNIT for the third straight year.
Virginia, under first year head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton, went 15-15 while receiving an invitation to postseason play for the first time in five years. The Cavaliers declined the WNIT due to a limited number of healthy players.
Niagara enjoyed an 18-13 record—the first winning record at the school since the 2004-05 season — while advancing to a postseason tournament (WNIT) for the first time in school history.
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball program has announced it will embark on a nine-day foreign tour to Switzerland and Italy, August 4-12. The trip will span nine cities and will feature two exhibition games for the Hokies.
In other Hokie basketball news, Virginia Tech women’s basketball Head Coach Kenny Brooks announced the hiring of Jauwan Scaife as assistant coach Thursday.
“I am extremely excited to add Jauwan to our staff,” Brooks said. “He brings energy and a wealth of knowledge that will benefit not just our athletes but the entire staff. He is top notch and a rising star in our profession.”
A native of Muncie, Indiana, Scaife spent the 2022-23 season at Ball State, his alma mater.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Hokie family,” Scaife commented. “I am eager to get started and look forward to working alongside this incredible staff led by Coach Brooks.”
Scaife returned to his alma mater after spending two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Utah State women’s basketball team. During the 2021-22 season, the Aggies finished the season ranked third in offensive rebounds per game (12.43) and fourth in assists per game (14.20).
Prior to Utah State, Scaife had a similar role at Murray State from 2018 to 2020, where he had key roles in player development, recruiting, offensive schemes and game plans and assisted with in-game adjustments. During the 2018-19 season, Scaife helped the Racers to nine conference victories, the most by Murray State since the 2008-09 season. Scaife also helped Evelyn Adebayo and Macey Turley earn All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.
Before his time at Murray State, Scaife spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Evansville, where he worked primarily with perimeter players. Scaife helped Kerri Gasper earn honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades.
Scaife was also an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri for two seasons under Rekha Patterson. At Southeast Missouri State, he helped the Redhawks advance to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament for the first time in seven seasons during the 2015-16 campaign. One of his players, Brianna Mitchell, was named to the All-OVC team during his time at Southeast Missouri.
A fantastic player in his own right, Scaife was a four-year letter winner from 2009-2013 at Ball State, where he was a Second-Team All-MAC selection as a senior in 2012-13 and a MAC All-Freshman Team choice in 2009-10. He completed his Master’s degree in physical education from Ball State in 2013 while also holding the role of graduate assistant for two years with the Cardinals.
Scaife finished his career 14th in program history with 1,326 career points and became the 26th 1,000-point scorer in Ball State history. He finished with 203 career 3-pointers, breaking the school record in the final game of his career. He ended his career ranked seventh in program history in career minutes played (3,368), tied for seventh in games played (120) and ninth in games started (93). Scaife also wrapped up his career ranked 11th in career free throws made (317), 13th in free throw percentage (.783) and 15th in free throw attempts (405).
Prior to Ball State, Scaife was a three-year letter winner at Muncie Central High School. Scaife is also the cousin of former Ball State and NBA standout Bonzi Wells.
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