2018 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ALBANY REGIONAL TIPS OFF WITH I LOVE NEW YORK WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL FAN FEST

Perennial powerhouse UConn and defending national champion South Carolina headline Albany Region

ALBANY, New York; – Basketball fans are invited to celebrate the return of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Albany Regional to downtown Albany at the I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest. The family-friendly event will be held at the Times Union Center Atrium on Saturday, March 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday, March 26 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest will be held in conjunction with the Albany Regional which will include some of the best collegiate women’s basketball teams in the country.

The Albany Region of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament features the overall number one seed in UConn which will be seeking its 12th national championship. Rounding out the top four ranked teams in the Albany Region are defending national champion South Carolina, Florida State University and the University of Georgia. The bracket also includes the Quinnipiac Bobcats, the champions of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), who are seeking to return to the Sweet 16 and a date in Albany.

Opening-round and second-round competition will take place at various sites March 16-17 and March 18-19. The four teams who emerge from the first two rounds will earn a berth in the Albany Regional which is hosted by the MAAC and Siena College.

“The MAAC is thrilled to bring some of the best women’s college basketball in the nation to downtown Albany with the return of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regional. Albany has been a tremendous host to the tournament and in 2015 drew the most attendees amongst all four of the regional sites. This level of community support was critical in awarding the 2018 and 2019 regional rounds to Albany,” said MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor. “This is a competitive field with some true powerhouse teams and a must-see event for basketball fans. We look forward to another exciting few days of first-class collegiate athletics and outstanding community events.”

The I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest will feature a variety of entertainment designed for hoops fans of all ages, including a live DJ, basketball-themed inflatables, performances from college and university pep bands, face painters, balloon artists and jugglers. Fans will also be able to purchase NCAA merchandise, as well as festival foods, including hot dogs, pretzels, candy and beverages. Admission to the I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest is free.

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “I LOVE NEW YORK is excited to welcome thousands of college basketball fans to the Capital-Saratoga region for this year’s tournament. Through our Fan Fest partnership, we hope to help provide an amazing guest experience, familiarize visitors with our world-class destinations and attractions, and encourage them to plan a return trip to New York State.”

The I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest will supplement the championship caliber action at the Times Union Center. The first two games of the Albany Regional will be held on Saturday, March 24 at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Regional Final will take place on Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m.

“The Times Union Center is honored to host the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Albany Regional and we are excited to welcome both the teams and their fans to our newly renovated facilities,” said Bob Belber, general manager of the Times Union Center. “We encourage basketball fans to join us for these sure to be memorable games and to celebrate the accomplishments of these student athletes at our I LOVE NEW YORK Fan Fest.”

“I am excited because both this year and next, the Women’s Basketball Regionals will be held here and there is nothing more positive for our young people to showcase the NCAA women who serve as role models. The tournament is about great plays and the competition and there is something for everyone with Fan Fest,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “I declared this month March Madness for women’s basketball in Albany County and I invite everyone to see the top players in women’s basketball as they take to the court March 24 and 26.”

The I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest was made possible through a partnership with the New York State Division of Tourism and with support from Dunkin’ Donuts, Capital Region Sports Foundation, Discover Albany and the MAAC.

Tickets to the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Albany Regional are available at the Times Union Center box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com, at select Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

For more information about the I LOVE NEW YORK Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest, visit www.AlbanyFanFest.com.

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