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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

July 13, 2006 at 11:39 AM

Seeing stars

After looking around at the modest crowd at Madison Square Garden for the All-Star game on Wednesday, you again wonder why the WNBA won’t host the game on the West Coast, particularly Seattle.
Holding the event in New York made perfect sense because of the ties to the 10-year celebration, but only 12,998 people trekked through the torrential downpour on Wednesday to experience that and the cheap seats were about 10 bucks. For the inaugural midseason classic at the Garden in 1999, the game drew 18,649 fans, and when it was held there again in 2003, the attendance was 18,610. In fact, Wednesday’s total was the league’s worst showing, if you don’t count the 9,168 total at the Mohegan Sun Arena in 2005. That’s the facility’s capacity and the event was truly a hit. The league’s real attendance low was in 2001, when 16,906 viewed the game in Orlando.
The WNBA has only taken its star-studded game west once in its seven-year history, when 17,717 beat the heat in Phoenix to see the game. League president Donna Orender continues to say Seattle is being considered and Karen Bryant, the Storm’s chief operating officer, continues to say the team would love to have the game, but nothing seems that serious, yet. And it boggles the mind.
Seattle is the perfect place to be this time of year. New York for all its wonderful glory is a sticky mess — and that’s not because the city had a thunderstorm on Wednesday that rivals those in Florida. On a sunny day, it’s hot and humid and even the natives don’t stick around — bolting for the Hamptons or other spots with water upstate. Seattle, although way smaller, still has a mix of art museums, kid’s attractions, shopping, theater and fine dinning to choose from. And our rain is bearable (seriously, I almost died in a gutter trying to get to the game Wednesday evening, slipping on the slick concrete).
Plus, where else in the Western Conference would you put the game? Minnesota couldn’t draw flies to such an event; Houston, San Antonio, and Phoenix are too hot; Sacramento is a smaller market and the snobby fans in Los Angeles offer no guarantees.
But Seattle will probably nix itself from the list since ownership wants a new facility and showcasing KeyArena might be counterintuitive. Of course only the fans of the region suffer. Having the All-Star game in Seattle could draw people from the Bay Area, L.A., and Portland, where there are plenty of passionate women’s hoops junkies and plenty of reasonable airline tickets to the Pacific Northwest. Blend that with the local crowd and surely more than 12,000 fans would attend the illustrious game.
Shoot, the Storm nearly draws that on a regular-season night.



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