TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - For the first time ever, the Wildcat women’s basketball team may sell out McKale Center.
If they do, that would be about 14,000 fans, far exceeding the 10,165 they drew in the WNIT semi-finals on Wednesday.
“When we got to 10,000, I thought “Wow,” said head coach Adia Barnes. “And then I got greedy and said let’s get to 12,000."
The game is Saturday, April 6, at noon against Northwestern.
Fans were lining up all day Thursday for buy tickets, which go for $10 for general admission.
“When have you ever seen 10,000 fans at a women’s basketball game,” said season ticket holder Colleen Green. “It’s encouraging and I’m hoping next year we see even more fans.”
Which is the goal Barnes has for her team.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” she said. “I think what the WNIT does is creates momentum, it creates confidence, it creates experience so that you want more, the WNIT isn’t good enough next year.”
Barnes played on the U of A team which last won the WNIT in 1996, against, of all teams, Northwestern.
Barnes says the community support is beyond words, one of the things that makes Tucson special.
In a bigger city, where there are lots of sports attractions, a WNIT berth would not draw so much attention.
But in Tucson, the U of A is the main attraction.
“I know you have to win games and people follow, but I think it’s more special when you go down the street to A-Loft and there’s a poster or drive to Jack in the Box and it says congratulations women’s basketball,” she said. “Those are the things that are more meaningful and that’s what this community does.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the ticket office reported sales far exceeded 8,000 which means the team is well on its way to a sellout.
The ticket office warns fans to buy early online or in person. Waiting until game day may be too late.
“Let’s sell out,” Barnes said. “I really think we’re going to sell it out.”