Venue issues if UTEP women snag WNIT championship spot

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 12:21am

As ticket sales for Wednesday night's Miner women WNIT Final Four basketball game shot past the 10,000 mark, a new concern emerged about the venue of a potential Saturday championship game.

If UTEP head coach Keitha Adams and her squad gets a victory over South Dakota State on Wednesday, the team would land itself home court advantage for the Saturday afternoon finals.

Problem is, the UTEP Don Haskins Center is already booked for Saturday and has been for more than a year.

The Greater El Paso Festival of Hope, an event put together by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is expected to draw a large crowd of its own. So large, the festival also reserved UTEP's Memorial Gym to accommodate overflow.

So what would be "Plan B" for the Miners?

Tuesday afternoon, UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull said the UTEP women could play at the New Mexico State University Pan Am Center in Las Cruces.

"If we couldn't have it (at the Haskins) it would be the most logical choice," Stull said. "(The Pan Am Center) can accommodate 10,000 people or more."

Late in the afternoon Tuesday, Festival of Hope organizers told NewsChannel 9 that Franklin Graham, son Billy Graham, offered to move the association's 6 p.m.. Saturday event to another spot on campus, freeing up the Haskins.

UTEP officials have not said whether the agreement is final and where the Festival of Hope could move.

During a live interview on NewsChannel 9 at 10 on Tuesday, Adams said she was confident the situation will work itself out.

"Right now, we're focused on the (South Dakota State) Jackrabbits," Adams said.


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