UI women could get another home date

UI women could get another home date

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois women’s basketball team might not have played its final home game of the season after all.

If the Illini win their Women’s National Invitation Tournament third-round game Thursday night at Toledo, a quarterfinal contest at the Assembly Hall is a possibility.

Before the tournament, UI athletic department officials indicated that the team’s home court would be unavailable for games after the third round due to previously booked events at the Assembly Hall.

However, UI athletic officials and Assembly Hall staff have since discussed possible scheduling options for future WNIT games. Those talks yielded a date — Monday, April 1 — on which the Assembly Hall could accommodate an Illini home game if the team advances to the quarterfinals.

The Assembly Hall is scheduled to host a concert two nights earlier, requiring the venue to make the transition from one event to another on a holiday weekend.

“The staff at Assembly Hall would have to do set-up (for basketball) on Easter to get things ready but are willing to make it happen,” Kathy Hug, UI assistant athletic director for event management, said Tuesday.

The WNIT also would need to agree to the April 1 date. According to the tournament’s schedule, quarterfinal games can be held during a three-day window from March 30 to April 1. WNIT officials pick the date and locations of all tournament games.

Hug emphasized that the UI can offer no flexibility on when it could host during the quarterfinals.

“That is the only available date for us,” Hug said of April 1. “Saturday and Sunday are not options.”