Big East women's basketball extends contract with XL Center

The Big East Conference announced Tuesday that its women's basketball tournament will continue to be held at the XL Center in Hartford. The Big East's partnership with the XL Center, which has been in place for eight years, has been extended through the 2012-13 season.

The 2012 tournament will be held March 2-6 and the 2013 tournament March 8-12. All 16 Big East teams will compete in the tournament in 2012, with the winner earning the conference's automatic NCAA tournament bid.

"I was thrilled to hear that the Big East Conference and the XL Center reached an agreement to play our conference championship in Hartford," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a prepared statement.

"We are obviously very familiar with the XL Center and have had a great deal of success there. The XL Center staff is always accommodating and has helped the Big East staff run a first-class event for the last eight years."

The Big East had a record-setting season in 2010-11, with nine teams being selected to the NCAA Championship and one to the WNIT, topping the league's own postseason mark of eight. After Big East teams posted a perfect 10-0 record in the first round of the postseason, the league sent two teams to the Final Four, with UConn and Notre Dame meeting in the national semifinals.

"As the most attended conference basketball tournament in the country, we think there are great possibilities and look forward to further enhancing the championship experience for our players and fans," said Danielle Donehew, Big East associate commissioner for women's basketball.

- Staff and wire reports

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