UTRGV women’s hoops to host tournament on South Padre Island

EDINBURG — The UTRGV women’s basketball team is beach bound in 2020.

The UTRGV Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Wednesday that the women’s basketball team will host the inaugural UTRGV South Padre Island Classic, a four-game tournament featuring UTRGV, North Texas, Prairie View A&M and Weber State, on Dec. 18-19 at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.

“We are excited to be able to bring UTRGV basketball to Cameron County for what we plan to be an annual event on South Padre Island,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “We are committed to making UTRGV the Valley’s team and playing in Cameron County. Playing on South Padre Island is key to our mission to rally the Valley behind UTRGV Athletics.”

Conque has placed an emphasis on bringing UTRGV Athletics to the entire Rio Grande Valley, spearheading a Brownsville initiative that has seen athletics bring student-athletes, coaches and/or staff to the Brownsville campus on a bi-weekly basis.

The UTRGV women’s basketball team has played on South Padre Island twice previously, on Nov. 22, 2009, against Long Beach State, and Dec. 14, 2002 against Northern Arizona.

UTRGV women’s basketball head coach Lane Lord said the tournament will begin with four teams in Year 1, but will grow to eight teams next year featuring top talent from around the country with plenty of Texas teams in the mix. Lord said he’s excited to showcase Division I hoops on South Padre Island.

“We’re going to invite some of the best teams from around the country, but we’re always going to try to invite some Texas schools down first and make this an annual event that people can be proud of in the Valley,” Lord said.

“No. 1, we all love to go to South Padre Island, but maybe some of these schools have never been, and we’ll get a chance to showcase what we have down here in South Texas in the Brownsville area. I think it’s a neat opportunity for UTRGV to really put our name out there, put our brand out there and grow our university and develop those relationships in those communities,” he continued. “It’s a big-time opportunity for us, you don’t take that for granted in any way. You want to make the most of it and we want the people in the lower Valley to help us grow this thing. We’re excited for the opportunity to showcase UTRGV at South Padre Island, and as we continue to rally the Valley, this is an important step for us.”

UTRGV Athletics also formed a partnership with the City of Brownsville to bring more events, including competitions, camps, clinics and fan days to Brownsville.

“We’re inviting everyone to please join us and make this a successful event,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. said. “We’re excited about the future between Cameron County and UTRGV Athletics.”

“We’re really excited about the partnership with UTRGV,” South Padre Island Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Ed Caum said. “We’re going to rally the Valley. We’re bringing basketball back to the Island in December. We can’t wait to be with our UTRGV partners.”

UTRGV basketball season ticket holders will receive tickets to all four games and those will be included in their season ticket packages. Additionally, fans can purchase tournament packages that include all four games for $20 or single-day passes, which include two games, for $12 each. Groups of 10 or more can purchase single-day passes for the discounted price of $10 each. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting the UTRGV Athletics ticket office team of Carlos Muñoz (956-665-3747) and Tiffany Ochoa (956-665-3415) over the phone or through email at tickets@utrgv.edu.

bramos@themonitor.com