TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Fans packed McKale Memorial Center on Friday night for the University of Arizona women’s basketball game against Arizona State University.
It was a room packed with rivals.
“We really don’t like the Sun Devils,” said UA fan Dean Sawin.
An age-old battle between the Wildcats and Sun Devils played out on the court.
“It’s bragging rights, it’s fun. It’s a rivalry. A big-time rivalry,” Andy Kunsberg said.
But the spotlight was on those in their seats. Head coach Adia Barnes pushed all week for ten thousand tickets to be sold, bringing out die hard fans and a few new faces. Like the Anderson family, who brought their two young sons to the game.
“The boys both play basketball and we wanted give them a taste of the university and let them see a game and let them see the women play,” Lacey Anderson said.
It’s a program that’s gained momentum and attention. It’s kept fans like Kunsberg coming back for more.
"There’s a new spirit and there’s a new feeling with the coach we have that we can really be a top 10 team and they need that support,” he said.
Kunsberg, like many others, hope the seats stay full throughout the season.
“They’re gaining here and the better they get the more people come. We really back basketball in Tucson I always have,” Sawin said.
The goal was met, with a total of 10,160 tickets sold Friday night. Even better for the Wildcats, the UA beat ASU 59-53.
It’s the first time the UA women’s team has defeated the Sun Devils in 20 years.