Women's tournament will have 16 first- and second-round sites

Updated: September 21, 2007, 1:05 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Women's Tournament will have 16 sites instead of eight for its first two rounds starting in 2009.

The tournament last used the 16-site format in 2004, when it set an attendance record.

The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee announced its decision Friday.

"As a coaching community we need to support the move to 16 pre-determined sites," Charli Turner Thorne of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association board said in a statement. "We anticipate larger crowds, increased excitement and better television coverage during the first and second rounds. The big winner overall will be women's basketball."

The committee also agreed to eliminate a rule that the top three teams in a region must be from different conferences.

The move is designed to keep top teams closer to home. Conference teams still won't be eligible to meet until regional finals.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press