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.
Virginia Tech Athletics
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