Post staff writer Camille Powell checks in from the NCAA women's tournament in St. Louis.
Attendance has been an issue throughout the tournament, and the games here in St. Louis have been no exception. The Scottrade Center may have looked full for the national semifinals on television, but there were swaths of empty seats in the upper deck. The announced attendance was 18,261, the first non-sellout since 1992. Tickets are still available for tonight's championship game, and are priced at $81.
Sue Donohoe, vice president for NCAA Division I women's basketball, attributed the difficulties to "the economic challenges that we're in right now." Several groups — the local organizing committee, the NCAA and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association — returned tickets, she said.
Connecticut, Oklahoma and Louisville are among the best-supported teams in the country; all three teams ranked among the top 12 schools in average attendance this season. But even they didn't need as many tickets as they have in past seasons.
"Traditionally when we've had a program like a Connecticut or an Oklahoma in, they will simply tell us we'll take everything that you've got," Donohoe said. "I think that they were a little bit surprised that the demands weren't as great as they probably anticipated."
Louisville Coach Jeff Walz is hoping that his team's unexpected run to the final will draw some extra fans tonight, to help counter the Huskies' support. He said that three or four busloads of students are expected to make the 266-mile trip to St. Louis. But he wasn't sure if Cardinals men's coach Rick Pitino was going to make the trip; Walz has watched some of Pitino's practices and received a congratulatory text message from the coach following the Cardinals' semifinal win over Oklahoma.
April 7, 2009; 12:04 PM ET
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