Thursday, June 25, 2015
UofL Women'sBasketball was #3 in attendance for 2014-15 -- Thursday Cardinal Couple
9358 average attendance for Walz Ball last year.
University of Louisville fans love the women's basketball squad. The Jeff Walz squad averaged 9358 for home games in the 2014-15 season. Only Tennessee and Iowa State drew and the Iowa State attendance was only a couple of hundred ahead of Louisville.
Why so high in on the outskirts of Ames, IA. you might ask? You have to understand the craziness for women's and girls basketball in Iowa. UofL Pep Band Director Al Greener (a transplanted Hawkeye) explained it to me a couple of years ago. Girls high school basketball in the state of Iowa is a religion. From Des Moines to the smallest of cities...the citizenship rolls out to watch the high school game. It is a social event. Main Street shops in rural communities close early so the owner and employees can attend games.
The Iowa State women's basketball coaches are no dummies...the 2015-16 roster has four former Iowa high school stars on it.
Equally high is was the Iowa Hawkeyes roster for 2014-15. (Lisa Bluder either hasn't released the 2015-16 roster yet...the Iowa WBB asst. SID is asleep on the job or I've lost my on-line search skills)
They had three former Iowa high school girls basketball stars. Northern Iowa and Creighton draw well, too. The Iowa residents realize and support the fun and excitement of the game...on the high school and college level.
Only Iowa State has crashed the top 50 out of the four schools...but match those four schools mentioned above up against any other four schools from any other state and I'd wager the total attendance is higher in Iowa.
And you thought Iowa was primarily known for corn, wrestling and Radar O'Riley from M*A*S*H...
Tennessee...well, the Lady Vols are going to draw because of the Pat Summit legacy. It is interesting to note that the yearly attendance for Lady Vols Hoops has dropped since Pat stepped aside. With the recent transfers to UT and returning roster, the Vols looked poised to be a top 10 program in 2015-16. Fans still gripe about Holly Warlick.
It is hard to replace perfection. And, Pat does still attend home games.
So...would local attendance grow for Louisville if a few in-state girls were on this year's roster? The Cards in the Walz era have recruited well in-state. Let's not forget Sara Hammond, Nita Slaughter, Shelby Harper, Laura Terry and Candyce Bingham...just to name a few. Walz certainly hasn't ignored the Commonwealth of Kentucky since he had been here. He did go after the Lebanon duo of Epps and Goodin-Rogers. He would have loved to had Rebecca Greenwell and Erin Boley. He did have Gwen Rucker, Ashley Rainey and Janae Howard on board in the early days.
Does anyone remember Monique Reid or Tia Gibbs? Point made, end of story on lack of local recruitment by the current regime.
Sometimes, you just have to go after the best players. How many Final Fours have Iowa or Iowa State been to in the last eight years? Or, for that matter...Kentucky WBB?
Louisville WBB outdrew the National Champs (UConn) in 2014-15.
With the #1 recruiting class in the nation on campus...the dynamic duo of the M&M girls returning...everyone's favorite shot-putter "E" and fan favorite Cortnee Walton back...UofL WBB fans have a lot to look forward to in 2015-16.
You're going to love Sydney Brackemyer and her all-out, 110% hustle and enthusiasm now that she's healthy. We hear Arica Carter has been "reborn again" with the desire and commitment to show us the high-school version Jeff Walz fell in love with.
Yeah, we'll miss not having a Schimmel or two. That could change in a few years if younger sister Milan continues to tear up the New Mexico girls basketball scene. Will the Native American fan base diminish now...since #22 or #23 aren't on the roster? We hope not.
Getting from #3 to #1 in attendance? Quite frankly, it's up to you...the fan base. You have a top-flight facility to watch games. Reasonable season ticket prices. Out-of this-world competition and a highly competitive Conference.
Best-in-class players and the best young coach and coaching staff in the college WBB domain.
I reflect on the past sometimes...
I remember going to games at local high schools to watch Louisville WBB. I remember when the women's played before the men's games...maybe 200-300 in cavernous Freedom Hall. When a student could get in by just flashing their student ID and sit at center court in section 335.
I look at today and just smile...my, what a long way Louisville WBB has come!
The program can go further. The program is committed to going further. Do you think Cortnee, Emmonnie, Arica, Syd, Mariya, Myisha, Asia, Taja, Brianna, Sam and Erin showed up just for the pretzels, Sean Moth and Derby Week?
They fully believe they can bring Louisville women's basketball a National Championship. So does Walz and the coaching staff.
So do I.
Be there for it. Make the commitment and go to games.
For those interested in obtaining season tickets for the 2015-16 Louisville women's basketball campaign, please click here to fill out a wait-list application.