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Women’s basketball home attendance among top 70 in nation

Published (Volume 76, No. 3)

The UTM women’s basketball home attendance is the 68th highest in the nation among 322 Division I teams.

“This is the fifth consecutive year we have been ranked among the top 75,” said Gary Van Atta, Skyhawk women co-head coach. “We are excited about the streak, and we hope to continue it.”

The Skyhawk women played 12 homes games this past season and their average home attendance was 1,711. The team drew more than 20,500 total fans for the 12 games. The team’s home attendance average was the second highest in the OVC. Tennessee Tech led the conference in average home attendance with 2,789, and was ranked 39th in the nation.

“Our home attendance is a huge credit to our fans,” Van Atta said. “We have the greatest fans in the world.”

Out of 31 Division I conferences, the OVC was ranked 11th in home attendance. The OVC, with nine schools in the league last season, averaged 1,213 spectators in attendance per game. The 2002-2003 season set a record high in attendance for the OVC.

The Skyhawks’ average home attendance was better than the Southeastern Conference’s Kentucky, Florida and Alabama. UTM also had a higher average than Michigan, Louisville, Ohio, Tulane and even Villanova, who upset national champion Connecticut.

“We want to build on our attendance and crack into the top 50,” Van Atta said

The Skyhawks ranked fifth in home attendance in Tennessee.

UTK was second in the nation with a 12,585 average. The Lady Vols played 16 home games. Vanderbilt was second in the state and 21st in the nation with a 4,339 average.  Tennessee Tech was third. UTC was ranked 61st with an average of 1,879.
The University of Memphis was not among the top 120 schools. Connecticut sported the highest home attendance average in the nation. The Huskies averaged 12,859 fans to their home games.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a total of 10,163,629 spectators attended NCAA women’s games in 2002-03, a jump of 630,848 from 2001-02. The 322 Division I teams fueled the boost by eclipsing the seven million mark for the first time, totaling 7,351,634 spectators, up 413,821 from 2001-02.