It is always interesting seeing Women's NCAA Tournament games being played at extremely small campus venues. Schools such as Purdue, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green were hosts to the first and second rounds of 2012's March Madness. Even 10th-seeded Iowa State, 11th-seeded Gonzaga, and 14th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock played games at home in the tournament.
Kim Barnes Arico's St. John's women had to travel to Norman, Oklahoma as a 3-seed to face Creighton and 6th-seeded Oklahoma on their home floor. The Red Storm eventually won both nights and advanced to the program's first ever Sweet Sixteen, but not before having to overcome a de facto road game to do so.
Now, St. John's will receive the opportunity to host NCAA Tournament games next March. Carnesecca Arena will be host of first and second round women's tournament games on Sunday, March 24th and Tuesday, March. 26th.
It is understandable why the NCAA has to play these games at on-campus venues. Unlike the men's tournament, the women simply cannot fill large NBA or NHL arenas in any round prior to the Final Four. It's an issue about money and an issue about atmosphere.
The Johnnies, led by newly-hired head coach Joe Tartamella, are expected to have another outstanding season as six of their seven top scorers from 2011-12 will return. Seniors Nadirah McKenith, Shenneika Smith, and Eugeneia McPherson will attempt to bring their team to the top of the Big East.
The St. John's women have made the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons, but the slate is virtually clean now that 10-year head coach Barnes Arico has moved on to Michigan. The program is in position for continued success, and hosting tournament games in March proves that the NCAA is beginning to recognize it.