As many COVID-19 guidelines continue to get lifted, college sports might be very close to normal come the fall sports season. Just ask the Pitt women’s basketball team, who was selected to take part in the 2021 Paradise Jam tournament later this year.
✈️ Virgin Islands Bound ✈️
We have been selected to play in the 22nd annual Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands‼️
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_WBB) May 10, 2021
The Panthers join seven other programs in making the voyage to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Nov. 25-27. Five of the programs competing are coming off of NCAA Tournament appearances, including national runner-up Arizona, which should provide Lance White and company with a good idea of how well the Panthers can compete against the nation’s top programs.
That competitive field is the result of wanting to make up for the lack of a tournament last season, according to Paradise Jam Executive Director Nels Hawkinson.
“We wanted to make sure we made up for last year’s absence by getting the amazing people of the Virgin Islands something to be excited about for the 22nd year of this event,” said Hawkinson. “This field of strong women’s programs has everything you want in an elite preseason event, and we’re excited to see it translate onto the court. But on top of that, we know the players, coaches, and staff will get just as much excitement by exploring and experiencing the island culture.”
This is Pitt’s second invitation to the tournament, with its first appearance coming in 2015. Pitt topped South Dakota State and Old Dominion that season before falling to no. 6 Maryland 70-49, which ended its run.
The eight teams are split into two divisions for the tournament and each team is guaranteed to play at least three games as a result. As of right now, the divisions have not yet been released.
Pitt fans can keep up with all of the happenings at the 2021 Paradise Jam by watching the action unfold on ESPN3 or ESPN+.