Stephens Center chosen to host 2012 NCAA games
There is huge news for UALR and Little Rock. The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee chose the 5,600-seat Jack Stephens Center to host first and second round games for the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
“First and foremost, we need to thank the Stephens family, for without the philanthropic ways of Jack Stephens and the Stephens family, we would not have this opportunity,” said Chris Peterson, UALR’s athletic director. “The Jack Stephens Center is the finest basketball facility of its size in the country.”
The Stephens Center, built in 2005, is one of 16 sites to host first and second round games in 2012. The Trojan men and women’s basketball teams have played in the Stephens Center since it opened. They played in Alltel Arena (now Verizon Arena), located in downtown North Little Rock, for six years.
The women’s team went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time last year as an 11 seed and defeated No. 6 seed Georgia Tech 63-53. The Lady Trojans lost to No. 3-seed Oklahoma 60-44 in the second round.
Unfortunately for the Lady Trojans, Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Chastity Reed won’t be with the team in 2012 because she is a senior this year.
The good news is that Coach Joe Foley has seven underclassmen to learn from Reed and her fellow seniors this year, Shanika Butler and Asriel Rolfe. The team is picked to win the SBC’s West Division after winning it the past three years.
The Lady Trojans are ranked 42nd in the Women’s Associated Press Preseason Poll, 39th in the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Women’s Coaches’ Poll and 4th in the Collegeinsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25.
The team plays their first game of the season at the Stephens Center against Davidson on Nov. 12.