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National Women’s Basketball AAU Tournament Heading Back to Western PA in April

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In mid-April, the Western PA Bruins Classic will once again take place in the Pittsburgh area, bringing hundreds of elite women’s basketball players to the region for a national-scale tournament. 

The event will be held April 16-18, 2021, and will take place at the All-American Fieldhouse in Monroeville, PA, located 13 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh. A national tournament, the WPA Bruins Tip-Off will feature between 185 and 200 teams from all over the country, not just Pennsylvania. 

We bring in some of the best programs and teams from 15 states,” tournament director and WPA Bruins director John Tate said. “We’ve got teams coming from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, New York, Massachusetts, and more. That doesn’t really sound local to me!”

The tournament will feature girls from fourth up to 11th grade, including top prospects from not only the Bruins program but also national teams around the country. In past seasons, more than 250 teams have participated in the event, but due to COVID restrictions, this year’s field will be a little smaller. Starting in 2015, the event has hosted countless amounts of top prospects, All-Americans, and college and pro players. It has earned a reputation as one of the best, most competitive events in the early portion of the AAU season.

“There are a lot of good tournaments across the country that are national,” Tate added. “This is certainly one of the best early-season tournaments. A lot of the national-level programs use this to get ready for other big events coming up in April or May.”

Some of the top players that will be showcasing their talents for the Bruins will be Journey Thompson, Bailey Shriver, Ashleigh Connor, and Aislin Malcolm. 

Thompson is a 6-foot-2 forward prospect in the class of 2022. The Peters Township star holds several division one offers, including Pitt, Duquesne, Robert Morris, Charlotte, and Cleveland State, among others. Shriver plays for Bishop McCort and holds an offer from St. Francis (PA). She is currently averaging 10.9 points and 6.9 assists per game early on in her junior season. Connor is a 2022 prospect out of Mount Lebanon who holds offers from Xavier, Cleveland State, Oakland, and more. Malcolm, headlining the 2022 class for the Bruins, is currently committed to play for coach Lance White and Pitt after she graduates from Chartiers Valley.

The Bruins program has an impressive list of alumni, including over 80 players that went on to play at the college level and seven future pros. That group of pros features Swin Cash, a McKeesport native who is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and in late December was nominated for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The most recent Bruin to make the WNBA is Kayla McBride, a three-time WNBA All Star who plays for the Las Vegas Aces. McBride was the 2010 Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year before going off to Notre Dame where she was a part of four Final Four teams with the Irish.

More information about the tournament, including hotels, registration, and fees, can be found at the link below. 

https://wpabruins.org/tip-off-tournament/

 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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