Guess there were plenty of witnesses for Gonzaga’s historic season, including the rising public spotlight on PG Courtney Vandersloot. She’s settling into WNBA training-camp in Chicago after helping the Zags attract an average 4,060 fans to rank 25th in the nation.
The overall total for 16 games was 64,966, selling out games against Stanford (Nov. 21), San Diego (Feb. 26), and Iowa (March 19) and UCLA (March 21) in the NCAA tournament opening round. Gonzaga advanced to its first Elite Eight berth and Vandersloot became the first college D-I athlete — male or female — to surpass 1,000 assists and 2,000 points.
She was drafted third overall by the Sky in April, highlighting a class of five seniors.
GU’s had the NCAA’s sixth-largest increase in home attendance, 1,129 fans, from the 2009-10 campaign.
“We have the best fans,”Coach Kelly Graves said in a news release. “Our fans are extremely supportive, loyal, and our following keeps building and building. How vital and great our fans are especially showed during our NCAA run this year; we are a women’s basketball community.”
Aside from the fact that Gonzaga plays in a non-BCS conference, what makes the figures even more impressive is that their home games play on television. Fans could watch elsewhere, but want to be part of the environment inside McCarthy Athletic Center, which seats 6,000.
In 2009-10 Gonzaga averaged 2,931 fans per game.
The NCAA said that 8,127,779 people attended D-I games in 2010-11, breaking the 2007-08 record by nearly 40,000. The NCAA D-I average attendance this season was 1,642.
*PHOTO CREDIT: Former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot waves to MAC crowd in senior farewell during NCAA tournament by The Spokesman-Review.