Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include how much Kentucky State University is being paid for the use of the William Exum Center this weekend, livestreaming information and a change in the lineup.
The Women’s Basketball Invitational, featuring teams from across the country, will be played at Kentucky State University’s Exum Center Friday through Sunday.
According to the WBI website ,the tournament, which began in 2010, “has given teams the opportunity to expand their season in an effort to capitalize on a successful season, while gaining championship experience and momentum for the following season.”
Teams in this year’s tournament are Cleveland State, Manhattan, Loyola Chicago, Stetson, Abilene Christian, Portland, Florida International and Northern Arizona.
Stetson replaces Longwood, which withdrew after a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing within the program.
Robin Antenucci, the executive director of the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist Commission, said the economic impact of the tournament is conservatively estimated at $39,000 in direct spending in the community.
KSU President Dr. M. Christopher Brown II said the school was contacted about two months ago to see if KSU’s facility could be used for the tournament.
“They needed a certain number of hotel beds, a certain number of restaurants, and they were looking for a mid-sized facility,” Brown said. “They looked at several campuses and did site visits.”
No fans will be allowed at the games, but livestreaming will be available at watchwbi.com.
“Because all the teams are coming from far away and this is not a home base for any team, they’re not allowing fans,” Brown said, “and we haven’t opened it to the campus community.
“They did their due diligence, and I’m glad we were selected.”
Clara Stamps, Kentucky State University's senior vice president for brand identity and university relations, said the school is being paid $12,000 for the use of its facility.
The WBI is typically a 16-team event but was limited to eight teams this year because of COVID.
The selection process, listed at womensbasketballinvitational.com, says the WBI reviews the preseason conference rankings, follows all D1 teams throughout the season, noting big wins and losses. In January, a watch list is constructed and all teams are notified if they make the watch list. In February, teams who remain on the watch list receive a WBI contract.
Contracted teams are placed into the WBI pool. In order to participate in the WBI, a signed contract must be returned.
Teams are picked based on NET (NCAA evaluation tool), record, conference standings, end-of-year performance and quality wins and losses.
Sport Tours International is the tournament sponsor.
All four first-round games will be played Friday. Here is the tournament schedule.
Noon: Cleveland State (11-9) vs. Manhattan (10-7)
2:30 p.m.: Loyola Chicago (11-13) vs. Stetson (9-13)
5 p.m.: Abilene Christian (14-10) vs. Portland (12-12)
7:30 p.m.: Florida International (13-12) vs. Northern Arizona (13-13)
Noon: Consolation bracket, Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
2:30 p.m.: Semifinal, Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
5 p.m.: Consolation bracket, Game 3 loser vs. Game 3 winner
7:30 p.m.: Semifinal, Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner
Noon: Seventh-place game
2:30 p.m.: Fifth-place game
5 p.m.: Third-place game
7:30 p.m.: Championship game