Memorable NCAA Women’s Final Four Leaves Mark on Dallas

A memorable NCAA Women's Final Four Championship is leaving its mark on Dallas, from an upset to UConn Friday to the South Carolina Gamecocks winning the national title for the first time in school history. 

Officials canceled Sunday's Tourney Town events at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas due to severe weather. 

The stage is set for the NCAA Women’s Final Four Championship game between Mississippi State and South Carolina on Sunday at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.

Additionally, the Pat Green concert scheduled for 3:15 p.m. was canceled.

Tens of thousands of fans are in town to enjoy the game and outdoor activities -- an estimated 40,000 people were expected to enjoy the free festivities at the Tourney Town fan experience area outside American Airlines Center.

Mary Steele, a Mississippi State fan from Denver, said she travels to the Final Four no matter where it is or who is playing. Steele went to Tourney Town on Saturday and was hoping to get one more visit in on Sunday.

“But I don’t think that’s going to happen with the weather prediction…We’re just going to enjoy the town, the city,” she said.

According to the NCAA's website, "Tourney Town is a free fan fest for fans of all ages jam-packed with youth clinics, basketball contests, giveaways, concerts, zip-line, interactive games, special appearances, autograph signings and much more."

While 40,000 fans packed the AAC, others flew in to Dallas just for the love of the game.

We found one group of die-hard women’s basketball fans at the Press Box Grill, a sports bar in downtown Dallas, who make the trip to every Women’s Final Four they can.

The group of 16 has traveled to Indianapolis, New Orleans, Nashville and now, Dallas.

They are all from Pennsylvania and all former women’s college basketball players. They played with each other and against each other, friends for more than 20 years.

“We don’t just come for the games, we come for the experience of everything,” said Steph Weikel.

“We celebrate our friendships, our relationships, with the sport that brought us together every year, in and out,” added Carolyn Muldoon.

Even though they didn’t have a dog in the fight, the crew cheered from the bar just as loudly as they would if they were in the stands.

“We’re passionate about it,” said Kiera Wooden, head women’s basketball coach at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. “It might not be the dunks and all that kind of stuff, but it’s still great basketball, it’s still athleticism.”  

Dallas' first foray into hosting the women's games were a big win for businesses as well. The Press Box Grill said they saw a 25 percent boost in business.

The economic impact to the city is estimated to be $30 million.

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