Evansville Regional Sports Commission To Host The 2025 MVC Women’s Basketball Championship at Ford Center


Thursday-Sunday, March 13-16, 2025


APRIL 27, 2024

The Missouri Valley Conference has announced future sites for the MVC Women’s Basketball Championship.  The three-year rotation includes Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. (2025); Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa (2026); and Vibrant Arena at The MARK in Moline, Ill. (2027).

In 2024, the Missouri Valley Conference was one of only six conferences in which the women’s basketball championship was played at a neutral site, separate from the men’s championship and on a different weekend (ACC, A-10, Big East, Pac-12, and SEC were the others).

“We are thrilled to continue to provide our women’s basketball student-athletes with the opportunity to be showcased in a neutral-site, stand-alone tournament,” says Valparaiso President José D. Padilla, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Valley Conference. “The next three years will allow us to grow the Missouri Valley Conference’s national brand through visibility in new communities while affording our student-athletes the chance to experience new conference tournament venues. I know the Conference office staff, member institutions, and our championship site hosts will work diligently to continue to provide a first-rate student-athlete and fan experience during our women’s basketball tournament.”

All 12 MVC women’s basketball teams will compete in the four-day tournament, with four opening-round games on Thursday, four quarterfinal games on Friday, and two semifinal games on Saturday, culminating in a Sunday championship game in each of the next three seasons.  The league tournament champion earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re excited about developing new relationships and growing the sport of women’s basketball in the region,” says MVC Commissioner Jeff Jackson. “The championship rotation model includes three great venues and three great communities who share the Conference’s goal of prioritizing women’s basketball.”

The 2025 MVC Women’s Championship at Ford Center in Evansville will be the 18th-straight year the Conference will conduct a neutral-site championship for women’s basketball.  The MVC has played its premier event for women’s basketball at Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. (2008-2015) and Vibrant Arena at The MARK in Moline, Ill. (2016-2024).  The previous 22 MVC post-season championships were held at campus sites.

2025:  Thursday-Sunday, March 13-16

2026:  Thursday-Sunday, March 12-15

2027:  Thursday-Sunday, March 11-14

Ford Center (6,300 lower bowl capacity) in Evansville, Ind., opened in November 2011, is in the core of Evansville’s downtown district. The 290,000-square-foot facility serves as home to the University of Evansville men’s basketball team and the Evansville Thunderbolts of the Southern Professional Hockey League.  The Ford Center also serves as host to numerous sporting events and concerts on an annual basis, including the Ohio Valley Conference men’s and women’s basketball championships and the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight.

Xtream Arena (5,100 capacity) in Coralville, Iowa, is a multi-purpose venue that opened in September 2020.  It is the home to the University of Iowa volleyball team and the Iowa Heartlanders of the ECHL (formerly the East Coast Hockey League).  It already has proven to be a signature attractor of both amateur and professional sporting events on the national and international stage through its direct connectivity to the 53,000-square foot GreenState Family Fieldhouse.

Vibrant Arena at The MARK (12,000 capacity) served as the host site for the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament from 2016 through 2024.  The league drew record crowds there, as the top-three championship game crowds (for a neutral-site MVC women’s basketball event) have occurred at Vibrant Arena at The MARK.  The venue has hosted hundreds of concerts each year, including acts such as Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, and Metallica.  The building also serves as host to two of the Quad Cities storied professional sports teams – the Quad City Storm Professional Hockey Team and the Quad City Steamwheelers Arena Football Team.

The last three MVC Women’s Basketball title games have aired nationally on either ESPNU (2022 and 2023) or ESPN2 (2024), and all 11 games from the tournament have been available on ESPN+.  Last year’s championship set an all-time high for unique viewers and total minutes watched.

In 2024, Drake earned the league title and NCAA automatic berth with a 76-75 victory over Missouri State in the title game.  MVC women’s basketball sent a record-tying seven women’s basketball teams to the postseason as Drake (NCAA), Belmont (WBIT), Missouri State (WBIT), UIC (WNIT), Illinois State (WNIT), Murray State (WNIT), and UNI (WNIT) represented the Conference in 2024.  The MVC previously had seven teams reach postseason play in 2012.  The MVC had six teams in the postseason in 1999, 2010, 2021, and 2023.

In recent seasons, the MVC has proven to be one of the nation’s elite conferences on the basketball court. The Conference saw Missouri State reach the Sweet Sixteen in the 2019 (defeating DePaul and Iowa State) and 2021 (UC Davis and Wright State) NCAA Tournaments, falling to eventual national champion Stanford in 2021.  Missouri State and Illinois State represented The Valley in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, marking the 14th time the MVC has earned two bids in the same season.

The history of Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball is filled with notable alumni, including 15 former legendary coaches and student-athletes who are members of the MVC’s Hall of Fame.