Sunday, April 01, 2007

ESPNU Invitational to Debut in November Featuring Tennessee

Early-season doubleheader to feature Duke, Oklahoma, South Florida and Tennessee in action

ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, Inc., announced today the creation of the ESPNU Women's Basketball Invitational, a one-night, women's college basketball doubleheader to be televised live on ESPNU on Nov. 15, 2007.

The event will be held at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Bay, Fla., and will tip off the 2007-2008 women's college basketball season for four top college basketball programs, including Duke, Oklahoma, South Florida and Tennessee. All four schools qualified for post-season play in 2007.

"We are excited to host the ESPNU Women's Basketball Invitational in Tampa," said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television. "It's a great way to celebrate women's college basketball by starting and ending the year with two events in the same fantastic city."

The Forum will also serve as the host site for the 2008 Women's Final Four on April 6 and 8.

"We look forward to tipping off the year with this competitive doubleheader and anticipate a fantastic end to the season with the Women's Final Four next April," said Ron Campbell, president of the St. Pete Times Forum.

Duke qualified for the 2007 NCAA Tournament as a one seed and finished the regular season with a 31-1 record. In the first of two games, the Blue Devils, who have made three of the last six Final Four trips in 2002, 2003 and 2006, will square off against South Florida at 7 p.m. ET. South Florida has qualified for post-season play the last four years.

In a game set to begin at 9 p.m., Tennessee, a winner of three consecutive NCAA championships from 1996 to 1998 and a one seed in the NCAA Tournament this year, will face Oklahoma. The Sooners entered the 2007 NCAA Tournament as a three seed and last advanced to the Final Four in 2002 finishing as the runner-up in the tournament.

Tickets for the ESPNU Invitational will be available through Ticketmaster locations starting in July.

"We're pleased to be able to work with ESPNU in starting the 2007-2008 women's basketball season on the same court where the national champion will be crowned," said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. "To be able to host these four elite level basketball programs in this setting speaks volumes to the strength of our sports community."

NOV. 15, 2007 (St. Pete Times Forum; Tampa, Fla.)

Duke vs. South Florida at 7 p.m. - ESPNU
Tennessee vs. Oklahoma at 9 p.m. - ESPNU

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