Big 5 adopts new women’s basketball format for 2024-25 season

The Big 5 announced a two, three-team pod format in a press conference on Thursday morning.

A formal announcement of the new format will be made on Thursday morning. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Updated: 6/6/24 at 1:43 p.m.

The Big 5 will adopt a two, three-team pod format for women’s basketball for the Philadelphia City 6 schools, it announced at a press conference Thursday morning at Villanova’s Finneran Pavilion. 

“There are so many people to thank,” said Villanova Athletic Director Mark Jackson. “The countless players, coaches, staff members and fan bases that have contributed towards making Philadelphia the college basketball center of the world. We’re also grateful for tradition and legacy that we all get to be a part of.” 

The City 6 schools, which consist of Temple University, Drexel University, Villanova University, La Salle University, Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Pennsylvania, will be split into two three-team pods that will play early in the season. 

The winners will play in a championship game in a triple-header, with third and fifth-place games to be played before that at Finneran’s Pavilion on Dec 6.  This will be the first season Drexel is an official member of the women’s basketball Big 5.

“This is a huge deal to Drexel, our program and certainly all our fans. It’s a great challenge with super rewards,” said Drexel Women’s Basketball head coach Amy Mallon. “Every school in the country has a conference title to compete for, and now Drexel is going to be able to compete for another title in the great city of Philadelphia​​”

The announcement comes just one year after the Big 5 adopted the same format for men’s basketball, with a triple-header championship game played at Wells Fargo Center. Saint Joe’s won the inaugural championship game, defeating Temple 74-65 on Dec 2.

The men’s Big 5 classic will return to Wells Fargo Center for the next three seasons and will be played a day after the women’s on Dec 7, the Big 5 announced. 

The women’s pods will mirror the men’s, with Penn, Saint Joe’s and Villanova in one and Temple, La Salle and Drexel in the other. Saint Joe’s won the Big 5 last season, going 4-0 in the old round-robin style. 

Temple Women’s Basketball was slated to play Saint Joe’s this season, but that matchup will no longer be happening after the announcement, according to Temple Women’s Basketball head coach Diane Richardson.

“Women’s basketball has been elevated all over the place, and Philadelphia is a sports town,” Richardson said. “I’m glad that people are watching now. This tournament and this championship here will also shed light on that. The fact that we have those three [games] in that day, those championship games. It really will be exciting for the fans, it’ll be exciting for our players, it’ll be exciting for the city of Philadelphia.”

Along with the change of format, the Big 5 announced during the press conference that Comcast Spectator Chairman and Flyers governor Dan Hilferty will serve as a Big 5 Ambassador. 

“Our team at Comcast Spectacor will handle ticketing, marketing partnerships and more for the classic,” Hilferty said. “As an ambassador to the Big 5, I look forward to tapping into the alumni network, the business community and beyond to continue building excitement for the entire Big 5.”

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