The Navajo Nation occupies a major chunk of the northeast part of Arizona, one of 27 Native American reservations in the state. To honor that massive faction of the population, Arizona State’s women’s basketball team will be opening its 2018-19 with a game on Navajo soil.
We are excited to announce we are bringing @ncaawbb to the Navajo Reservation! #SunDevilWBB is set to tip-off vs. @BaylorWBB on Veterans Day weekend in Fort Defiance, Arizona! Game will be shown live on ESPN2! #ShowdownOnTheRez @ESPN_WomenHoop @espnW https://t.co/jWTSrLi4Xn
— Sun Devil WBB (@SunDevilWBB) June 7, 2018
Dubbed “Showdown on the Rez,” ASU will face Baylor on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the 6,500-seat Bee Holdzil Fighting Scouts Event Center in the Navajo capital of Fort Defiance, Arizona. The game will coincide with Veterans’ Day and Native American Heritage Month.
In a news release, ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne noted that each season a home game celebrates Native American culture and tradition but this year the program decided to take that one step further.
“Over many decades, the Native American community has done so much to embrace our women’s basketball program and we felt there was no better time than now to make the journey to where ‘Rezball’ originated as a way to show our appreciation for all their support,” Turner Thorne said.
ASU is coming off a 2017-18 season in which it went 22-13 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. Baylor, a perennial national power, was 33-2 last season and reached the Sweet 16.