From Daytona Beach and St. Thomas to Cancun, the 2019 Thanksgiving tournaments featured a feast of appetizing action highlighted by the pair of high-profile upsets at the Paradise Jam. Next year, the Battle 4 Atlantis will to add to the holiday-hoops buffet.
The Battle 4 Atlantis women’s tournament is slated for Nov. 21-23, 2020, with the inaugural field including Oregon, South Carolina, Syracuse, South Florida, Central Michigan, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Hopefully, fans stuck in the U.S. will have the opportunity to take in these potentially tantalizing tilts given that not many witnessed Louisville’s epic upset of top-ranked Oregon or South Carolina’s dominant drubbing defending champion Baylor. Thus, it would be encouraging if the Battle 4 Atlantis prioritized the promotion and coverage of these contests.
Battle 4 Atlantis also should aim to grow the game in the Bahamas. As put by the Bahamas’ most famous female basketball player, Jonquel Jones wrote in a personal essay for The Players’ Tribune, “Yes, I’m from the Bahamas, and that’s a long way from the WNBA.”
With the Battle 4 Atlantis, this distance can contract, as outreach efforts could offer new experiences, and inspiration, for the next (and next and next) Jonquel Jones. But outreach should also address the islands’ ongoing recovery from Hurricane Dorian. Sport, of course, cannot serve as a cure-all for the destruction wrought by Dorian but, as Jones states, it can become a salve and stimulant — a tool to give young athletes passion, purpose and paths to greater possibilities.
In other words, Battle 4 Atlantis has potential to do more than raise the profile of some of women’s college basketball’s best programs. It also can expand the sport’s boundaries and contribute to the creation of a bigger and better women’s basketball world.