MILWAUKEE -- It's March, and that means time for some March Madness. The 2017 Big East Women's Basketball Tournament will start up right here in Milwaukee on Saturday, March 4th. This tournament means more than just basketball to Marquette and the state.
The excitement is building.
"I'm starting to get chills," said Marquette Women's Basketball Head Coach, Carolyn Kieger.
Saturday, the Big East Women's Basketball Tournament will tip off at Marquette University's Al McGuire Center.
"I'm super excited that we get the opportunity to host the Big East Tournament. I think that we create a lot of energy at the Al McGuire Center and I'm just excited to see the atmosphere," said Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette women's basketball player.
It's the first time ever that the tournament will be here in Milwaukee, which has Marquette Women's Basketball Head Coach, Carolyn Kieger, seeing opportunity.
"My hope is that more fans that haven't been in this arena come for the Big East Tournament, see the brand of basketball that we play and the heart of our players and come back for more. This team deserves to be celebrated. This team deserves to play in front of large crowds. So I hope this propels us into the future," said Kieger.
The Golden Eagles come in red hot, winning five in a row holding the #3 seed. Players like Natisha Hiedeman, say the buzz on campus is growing as the tournament nears.
"I think that we have a good student base here, a lot of my friends have been talking about it, they are excited and they are bringing their friends too," said Hiedeman.
While this is a huge deal for the players and students, it's also big for the sport in general.
"I think it's huge not only for Marquette but for women's basketball. There's a lot of great games for young women to come watch and hopefully fathers and mothers can bring their young women here to watch this great style. We have ten teams in the Big East that are very very talented and they deserve to be celebrated and have fans in the stands -- hopefully people come out and support us," said Kieger.
It's the fans that Kieger believes can make a difference this weekend, as they also might see a difference.
"If you come to watch our team you see just how much women's basketball has evolved in even ten years, even since I was playing. It's faster, it's really fun to watch, they are very very athletic and I just think the more people that come to see us and come to see women's basketball will start to fall in love with the game all over again and appreciate what they are doing on the floor," said Kieger.
Something that has locals excited is that so many players from Wisconsin will be showcasing their talents in the tournament.
"I know that we have a lot of local kids on our team and just for all their families and my family to be able to make it to the tournament means a lot to all of us because we love playing for our parents and our friends and our family," said Hiedeman.
Meaning winning the Big East Tournament right here in Milwaukee, would be the perfect way to say 'thank you' to those who've supported them all along the way.
Tickets for the Big East Tournament are still available. Get yours HERE.