In 2022, the WPA Bruins Tip-Off will return to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center once again.
The Tip-Off has become one of the top women’s basketball tournaments in the region, starting eight years ago as a way to bring good competition to the area without having to travel for it, and Western PA Bruins Basketball Club executive director John Tate hopes it’ll be even bigger in 2022.
“It’ll be year two in the [David L. Lawrence Convention Center], which in and of itself, is a huge accomplishment for us being able to lay down 28, 30 floors in one facility,” Tate told PSN.
After starting with 35 teams in the first year of the tournament, the field has grown consistently almost every year. A record 268 teams competed in 2019, and even with the uncertainty surrounding travel and competition right now, 235 teams competed in the latest edition of the tournament.
With teams competing from all over the country, 14 or 15 states in 2020, the tournament brings girls from the U10 to U17 age groups together in an opportunity to compete against the best of the best. Tate said coaches and directors of travel clubs have told him that the tournament is used as the unofficial start to the season for some teams.
“It’s an opportunity for them to play some people they’d never play, any other way,” Tate said. “You’re not gonna see these teams every weekend locally, so this is really an opportunity for you to see them and measure where you’re at against some of the best teams in the country.”
With teams from all over the east coast and into the Mid Atlantic region, starting to venture out into the Great Lakes region, Tate is hopeful for continued growth across the entire country — especially into the deep south and out on the west coast.
“We’d like to [grow],” Tate said. “… Our hope is to continue to grow, not just the number of teams, but from a continue to add the best teams and programs in the country.”
Tate expects to have one or two teams from the west coast at next year’s tournament, and he’s expecting more teams and more attendance across the board with continued progress with COVID-19. The 2022 tournament is scheduled for Easter weekend.