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KNOXVILLE – Tighter security procedures will remain in effect for the upcoming NCAA women’s basketball tournament games played at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Phil Scheurer, University of Tennessee vice president of operations, said a new arena security plan was implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The plan was upgraded after a heightened terrorist alert in February.

The upgraded measures have remained in place and will continue throughout the NCAA women’s basketball tournament games, Scheurer said.

Opening times for the NCAA Women’s first and second round and Mideast Regional tournament games will be two hours before tip off, he said.

Arena gates will open at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 22, for the 11 a.m. first round game, UT Lady Vols vs. Alabama State.

The second game, Virginia vs. Illinois, will tip-off 30 minutes after the first game ends.

The winners will play Monday, March 24, at a time to be announced later.

Mideast Regional games are scheduled for Saturday, March 29, and Monday, March 31, in Thompson-Boling Arena at times to be announced later.

Opening times for future women’s NCAA basketball games will be announced a few days prior to each game. The gates will continue to open two hours before tip off at all games.

Large bags, backpacks and other large parcels are prohibited in Thompson-Boling arena. Headset radios, cell phones, pagers and diaper bags accompanying an infant are permitted. Items not allowed inside the arena cannot be left at the gates or in the concourse.

All items are subject to search or inspection and metal scanners may be used, Scheurer said.