If you’ve caught a NCAA women’s basketball game on television lately, two things might have struck you in a positive way. One, the games are really entertaining and two, the crowds are starting to mirror men’s games. And we’re not just talking about for the standard Connecticut or Tennessee matchup, although those crowds remain impressive.
But Duke’s rivalry matchup with North Carolina reminded me of the men’s Cameron Crazies in their heyday. That outcome was actually a blowout in Duke’s favor, but No. 20 Louisville hung with No. 3 Connecticut before more than 16,000 fans on Tuesday.
No. 1 Baylor announced a second sell out of the season, expecting more than 10,000 at Ferrell Center for Saturday’s game against No. 15 Texas A&M while it just played before 12,000 in defeating Kansas State on the road last weekend.
No. 19 Gonzaga has sold out nearly all of its games this season at McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000), getting a record 4,000-plus to be season-ticket holders this year. South of Spokane in Pullman, Washington State had a solid crowd of more than 2,000 when Louisville visited, drawing a lot from the Native American community because of the Cardinals’ Schimmel sisters.
But overall in the Pac-12, attendance has been anemic in comparison to the other regions of the nation. The teams are averaging a combined 1,795 fans thus far. That’s down from 2,291 last year. WSU is on pace to double its draw, however, averaging 1,244 in nine home games this year compared to 607 in 12 home matchups last year.
For Washington, the Huskies have dipped a little, drawing 1,913 in coach Kevin McGuff’s first season (after nine games) compared to 2,411 under Tia Jackson last year. (But that figure isn’t true to who actually showed or paid, according to multiple sources.)
There should be a boost for UW this week. Washington hosts the Oregon schools, which are both hot right now. The first go round in December were close finishes, so it should be an interesting rematch.
But don’t look for No. 4 Stanford to tip ticket-sales as the Cardinal has done in the past. Stanford doesn’t travel to Hec Ed this year. Instead, the Cardinal is the conference’s television highlight on ROOT Sports. They’re averaging 4,341 fans at the 7,329-seat Maples Pavilion this season. Let’s see how it looks this weekend.
For the other games on tap this week, click here. Here are this week’s rankings:
Ranking (Last Week) Team (Record): Comment
1. (1) Stanford (20-1, 11-0): Plays on ROOT Sports at 6 pm (PT) Thurs. and noon Sun.
2. (2) California (17-6, 8-3): Hosts USC on ROOT Sports at 8 pm (PT) on Saturday.
3. (3) ASU (15-7, 6-5): Loss to California probably sealed Pac-12 as 2-bids for NCAA.
4. (4) USC (12-10, 6-5): Challenged Stanford in 61-53 loss early, can it repeat or win?
5. (6) OSU (15-7, 6-5): Look who’s riding 4-game win streak. Make it 6 after this week.
6. (7) UCLA (12-10, 7-4): Look who’s riding 4-game win streak. Cal ends it, though.
7. (5) Colorado (15-7, 4-7): Needs to rebound in hosting desert schools this week.
8. (11) Washington (12-9, 4-7): Win at USC could be turnaround for Huskies program.
9. (8) WSU (10-13, 4-7): Freshman G Tia Presley out indefinitely with left foot sprain.
10. (9) Oregon (13-10, 5-6): This is Ducks team most expected to start season, too late?
11. (10) Utah (10-12, 3-8): F Tryn Wicijowski leads team in rebounding (8.5).
12. (12) Arizona (13-10, 2-9): Wildcats on a disappointing 6-game losing streak.
The Players of the Week:
Pac-12: UCLA junior wing Markel Walker.
WCC: Pepperdine senior G Lauren Bell.
Big Sky: Eastern Washington senior wing Brianne Ryan (Lynden Christian HS) and Montana State senior G Katie Bussey.
WAC: Utah State senior F Ashlee Brown.
My Golden Apple: In the shadow of the bigger schools, Seattle University has been putting together a nice season. The Redhawks (13-9) have won back-to-back road games heading into facing Portland State (13-9) on Thursday. F Kacie Sowell is one reason for the success, tallying 10 double-doubles this year. She had 18 points and nine boards in a win at UW-Milwaukee last week. SU will begin play as part of the WAC this summer.
Play It Back: I’ve shared this on Twitter, but for those who don’t follow me there (@JaydaEvans), the Pac-12 does a weekly round-up that’s informative. Here’s a look at this week’s installment, there’s a treat for Washington fans.