NCAA Women’s Final Four takes over Bridgestone this weekend

NCAA Women's Final Four takes over Bridgestone this weekend (Image 1)

The floor is set for one of the biggest name sporting events Nashville has ever seen.

The NCAA Women's Final Four will tip off Friday at Bridgestone Arena.

Overnight, crews spent a little more than four hours transforming the arena from a concert venue to basketball court, but work on the floor began much earlier.

“We actually start in November with the building of the floor,” said Lisa Vito, Portable Business Unit Manager with Michigan-based Connor Sports Flooring.

She continued, “It takes about a week to build the floor, then it's loaded onto a flatbed truck, [and] brought down to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it was actually sanded, sealed, and finished.”

The 7,200 square foot maple hardwood for the Women's Final Four is one of nine floors Connor Sports Flooring has provided for women's and men's basketball college tournament hoops.

The floor for the women's championship game is heavily marked with the name “Music City.”

“Obviously, Nashville is in the news and Nashville is being spotlighted in the Women's Final Four, but to also see Music City right there at the foul line and all over the rest of the court is very exciting,” said Margaret Behm, Co-Chair for the Nashville Local Organizing Committee (NLOC), the non-profit organization created as official host entity for the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four.

Women's Final Four promotions promise the championship is “more than three games.”  Activities for fans are planned throughout the tournament, including the 4Kay Run to benefit cancer research through the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Youth clinics are scheduled with instruction from NCAA coaches and student-athletes on fitness, healthy lifestyles and sportsmanship. Kids are also invited to be part of the Broadway Bounce and dribble basketballs along downtown streets.

The Music City Center will feature “Tourney Town,” another fan festival with concerts, pep rallies, autograph sessions, and giveaways.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is also taking part in the festivities with the addition of an exhibit to honor the game's winningest coach, the legendary Pat Summitt.

“There isn't going to be a fan that comes to this game that isn't going to want to see that exhibit,” said Behm.

Pictures, videos, and memorabilia follow the former University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach from player to Olympic medalist to coach to NCAA champion.

Summitt led the Lady Vols from 1974 to 2012 and holds the record for the most wins in men's or women's college basketball at 1,098. During her tenure, she won eight national titles.

“What I love are the three championship crystal trophies, which I think are just fantastic to look at, all different kind of Waterford Crystal,” Behm said.

Behm and NLOC are providing free admission to the exhibit, permanently located at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in Bridgestone Arena, during the Women's Final Four.

“The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame has been a terrific partner and just jumped at the idea [of creating the exhibit],” she said.

She continued, “The [Nashville] Local Organizing Committee wanted to leave a legacy and what better legacy than to honor Pat Summitt?”

The NCAA Women's Final Four runs Friday, April 4, through Tuesday, April 8, at Bridgestone Arena.

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