The South Carolina women’s basketball team led the nation in attendance during the regular season, and the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament were no different. They averaged just over 10,000 fans.
That is more than double the average attendance at the 16 first and second round sites.
The 16 sites drew an average of 4,464 fans, about 250 less than the previous year.
“While overall attendance numbers for the first and second rounds were similar to last year, we were encouraged by 10 sessions that exceeded 5,000 fans,” NCAA senior vice president for women’s basketball Anucha Browne said. “We have had a very competitive championship so far with increased parity and are looking forward to four great regional sites this weekend that should be rocking.”
Two of the 10 games above 5,000 fans were at USC.
“It’s quite incredible. Other coaches around the country when they see all of us on the recruiting trails, they ask us, what are we doing. They’re some marketing behind it, but it is word of mouth,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said. “It is our fans enjoy the atmosphere that they create in our arena and the people that can’t make the games they give their tickets to their friends to make sure there are people sitting in those seats in that arena. And they cheer extremely loud.
“It was really, really loud in there (Sunday). I can’t thank our fans (enough) for just writing the script. I don’t know if it’s ever been done like this. Ever, in any program.”
NCAA regional attendance
Two-day attendance average for first- and second-round NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament games, ranked from highest to lowest.
▪ South Carolina (Columbia, SC): 10,162
▪ Louisville (Louisville, Ky.): 6,669
▪ Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss.): 6,104
▪ Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.): 6,030
▪ UConn (Storrs, Conn.): 5,550
▪ Oregon State (Corvallis, Ore.): 5,388
▪ Maryland (College Park, Md.): 4,885
▪ Baylor (Waco, Texas): 4,828
▪ Texas A&M (College Station, Texas): 4,027
▪ Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.): 3,144
▪ Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.): 3,046
▪ Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.): 2,879
▪ Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio): 2,592
▪ Stanford (Stanford, Calif.): 2,534
▪ Texas (Austin, Texas): 2,495
▪ UCLA (Los Angeles): 2,104