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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Reno chosen to host Big Sky basketball tournaments

Spokane lost out on the chance to host the Big Sky Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments during the next three years, but Eastern Washington University officials said they’re getting the next best thing. Even after the conference announced Friday afternoon that Reno – the largest city among the finalists and a major convention center – will host the pair of 12-team tournaments, everyone in Cheney was upbeat. “I think our team will really enjoy having the tournament in Reno,” Eastern coach Jim Hayford said. “I also like the notion that all our fans, the men’s and women’s team, the band, and the cheerleaders can all be a part of a tournament experience together. This is a good step forward as a conference.” At the same time, the conference announced that the fields for both tournaments will be expanded to include all 12 schools. Under a three-year contract announced by the Big Sky and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, the event will last six days at the 5,000-seats Reno Events Center. Dates are yet to be determined. “This was an exhaustive process,” Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton said. “Reno, as a city, and the folks that we worked with did a spectacular job in representing their community.” The winners of both tournaments gain automatic berths into the NCAA tournament. “The idea of a pre-determined site has been a long time in the making,” Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves said. “Once the conference spread over three time zones it became increasingly more difficult for our fans, and more importantly the families of our student-athletes, to attend the championships. This should help remedy that situation.” This year, both tournaments were held in Missoula, after the Montana men and women won the regular-season titles. The year prior the EWU women’s team had to travel two time zones away to play in the tourney in Grand Forks, North Dakota. “I’m excited that we’ve been able to make this happen,” said Eastern women’s coach Wendy Schuller. “It’s been a long time coming. … I think Reno is going to be a great location, and I’m really looking forward to it.” Reno won the right to host over several other venues, including a bid from the Spokane Sports Commission to host the tournaments at the Spokane Arena and EWU’s Reese Court. “I want to thank the Spokane Sports Commission, the Spokane Arena, Brett Sports & Entertainment, the Public Facilities District, and the cities of Spokane and Cheney for their bid, their support and all that they did during this process,” Chaves said. Other candidates were Missoula, Billings and Ogden, Utah.
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