Top-level NCAA basketball coming to Island

Top-level NCAA basketball coming to Island

Event with top-10 teams aims to grow sport in the region

Top-level women’s university basketball is coming to Vancouver Island later this month, and organizers of the tournament hope that the event at the University of Victoria spears a revival of the sport’s popularity throughout the region.

Eight NCAA Div. 1 teams, including a pair of top-10-ranked schools, will compete in the Greater Victoria Invitational on Nov. 28-30, and organizer Howard Kelsey would like to see it reinvigorate girls basketball on the Island, which he said has declined from its peak popularity.

“We see a way this can lead back to that situation and grow basketball on the Island,” said Kelsey, a two-time Olympian for Canada and former athletic coordinator at UVic.

The field includes Stanford, ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press preseason rankings that came out on Wednesday, No. 10 Mississippi State, and No. 21 Syracuse, as well as Green Bay, Bowling Green, San Francisco, Houston and California Baptist.

Shawnigan Lake’s Gary Mols is among the boosters of the tournament, and has arranged for teams from Cowichan and Frances Kelsey secondary schools to attend. Other teams are encouraged to inquire about group ticket rates by contacting Max Winebrenner at mw@bdglobalsports.com

Visit victoriainvitational.com for more information about the tournament.