Notre Dame will be playing host to NCAA Championship early-round games for the third time in four seasons in 2012. This past March, the Fighting Irish defeated Cleveland State, 86-58, and Vermont, 84-66 (the latter behind a career-high 31 points from guard Skylar Diggins, pictured) to book their eighth trip tp the NCAA Sweet 16 in the past 14 years.

Notre Dame To Host Early Round Games In 2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship

Oct. 26, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame has been selected as one of 16 host sites for first- and second-round games in the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, it was announced Tuesday. Games will be played at the 9,149-seat Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on either March 17 & 19 or March 18 & 20, with exact dates and ticket availability for those contests to be released at a later date.

With Tuesday’s selection, Notre Dame will play host to action in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship for the eighth time, and the third time in four seasons. Most recently in March 2010, the Fighting Irish earned their eighth trip to the NCAA regional semifinals (Sweet 16) in the past 14 years with victories at Purcell Pavilion over Cleveland State (86-58) and Vermont (84-66) in the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship’s Kansas City Region.

“We are so thrilled to hear that Notre Dame will be a host site for NCAA tournament games once again in 2012,” Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Our administration, especially (director of athletics) Jack Swarbrick, (associate athletics director/women’s basketball administrator) Jill Bodensteiner and (assistant athletics director/game management) Tony Yelovich, give us every kind of support we could ask for, and they really help to make these tournaments into memorable first-class events.

“Without question, it’s an advantage to play at home in the NCAA tournament,” she continued. “It’s even more of an edge when you have the most passionate and loyal fans in the country like we do, and then you add in the best on-campus arena in the country with all of the fantastic renovations and additions at Purcell Pavilion, including our new state-of-the-art video boards. This NCAA host selection also wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of so many people behind the scenes, especially our incredible facilities crew at Notre Dame and the amazing University and community volunteers that come out and support this event. We can’t wait to bring the excitement and magic of NCAA March Madness back to Purcell Pavilion in 2012.”

Overall, Notre Dame has been home to NCAA early-round tournament action in 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2009 and 2010, with the Fighting Irish competing on their home floor each time and going 8-2 in those contests on the Purcell Pavilion hardwood, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2010, and going on to win their first NCAA title in ’01. In addition, the 1983 NCAA Mideast Regional was played at the arena — Tennessee defeated Ole Miss, 90-83 in overtime and Georgia ousted Indiana, 86-70 in the regional semifinals before UGa earned a trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four with a 67-63 victory over UT.

Notre Dame has been ranked in the Top 20 in the final NCAA attendance standings each of the past nine seasons, including a school-record fourth-place finish in 2009-10 (8,377 fans per game), highlighted by a school-record six sellout crowds. Purcell Pavilion also has been one of the top drawing sites for NCAA Championship first- and second-round games in recent seasons, most notably ranking second among last year’s 16 host sites with 6,129 fans per session.

Joining Notre Dame as host sites for early-round games in the 2012 NCAA Championship are (host school listed in parentheses): Ames, Iowa (Iowa State); Baton Rouge, La. (LSU); Bowling Green, Ohio (Bowling Green); Bridgeport, Conn. (Fairfield); Chapel Hill, N.C. (North Carolina); Chicago, Ill. (DePaul); College Park, Md. (Maryland); College Station, Texas (Texas A&M); Little Rock, Arkansas (Arkansas-Little Rock); Nashville, Tenn. (Vanderbilt); Norfolk, Va. (Old Dominion); Norman, Okla. (Oklahoma); Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga); Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State), and West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue).

The 2012 NCAA Championship regionals will take place March 24-27 in Des Moines, Iowa (Wells Fargo Arena); Fresno, Calif. (SaveMart Center); Kingston, R.I. (Ryan Center), and Raleigh, N.C. (RBC Center). The 2012 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held April 1 & 3 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.

The Fighting Irish have two starters and eight monogram winners returning for the program’s 34th season in 2010-11, joined by a three-player freshman class that has been ranked as high as eighth in the country by some media outlets. Notre Dame is coming off a 29-6 season that saw it rise to No. 3 in the national polls and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the eighth time in the past 14 years.

Season and single-game tickets for the 2010-11 Notre Dame women’s basketball campaign are available by contacting the Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Fans also can purchase tickets on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web page (

For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages ( or or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s basketball page at

— ND —