The UTRGV women’s basketball team is beach bound for the weekend as the Vaqueros are slated to host the inaugural UTRGV South Padre Island Classic basketball tournament Friday and Saturday at the South Padre Island Convention Center.

The SPI Classic will feature four teams — UTRGV, North Texas, Prairie View A&M and Texas Arlington — competing for the tourney’s first title across two days.

The UTRGV women’s basketball team has played on South Padre Island twice previously, on Nov. 22, 2009 against Long Beach State, and Dec. 14, 2002 against Northern Arizona.

“We’re pumped, a lot of work has gone into it to make it a reality. A lot of people had hands in making this happen,” UTRGV women’s basketball head coach Lane Lord said. “It’s been neat to watch it come together and now we get to finally go play.”

UTRGV is 3-2 so far this season with two victories over rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and another against Texas at San Antonio.

UTRGV’S Tiffany McGarity (21) and Iva Belosevic (3) defend against Texas A&M Corpus Christi Paige Allen (11) during the first half of an NCAA women’s basketball game at Bert Ogden Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 2,2020 in Edinburg. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor | [email protected]

Now, UTRGV will look to defend its home turf by winning the SPI Classic against more non-conference competition from across the state.

“It’s a good field to have North Texas, UT-Arlington and Prairie View, we’ve got four teams from Texas from four different conferences,” Lord said. “We’re going to have four conference representatives which I think is neat, then as the year’s go on, next year hopefully we’ll have eight teams and we’ll be able to grow this thing and have fans. It’s a special place and I think the lower Valley and our fans will rally behind this in the future.”

UT-Arlington (2-1) and North Texas (2-1) will kick the tournament off at 4 p.m. Friday, with the Vaqueros slated to close the show later that night. UTRGV is then scheduled to take on Prairie View A&M (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, Prairie View A&M and North Texas will start things off with a 1 p.m. tip. UTRGV and UT-Arlington are then scheduled to clash in the finale of the SPI Classic with 4 p.m. tip-off.

The South Padre Island Classic can be viewed live at WACDigitalNetwork.com.