Texas women’s basketball is seeking attendance numbers to match on-court success

Emma Hutchinson and Christina Huang

While Texas women’s basketball is seeing success on the court, head coach Vic Schaefer and his team are still working to increase attendance at their home games. 

Texas is not the only school with this problem. UCLA also has both of its basketball teams ranked within the AP Top 25, but according to The Daily Bruin, UCLA women’s basketball is averaging 2,700 fans per home game while the men’s team averages 8,300 fans.   

“Last year, I was frustrated with our attendance,” Schaefer said. “I felt like our team deserved better, and you know, I kind of challenged our fanbase. Quite frankly, I appreciate the ones that have been coming. But I think we should have more.

Last season, the Longhorns saw a total of 61,488 attendees, averaging 3,617 per game in 17 home matchups. This season, women’s basketball has seen an average of 5,545 fans in 15 home games this season.

However, men’s basketball seems to continuously rack up solid attendance numbers. Men’s games receive an average of 10,505 visitors per home game, almost double the number that attend women’s games.

Currently tied for first place in the Big 12 at 21–7 on the season, Texas women’s basketball continues to prove itself as an athletic program of note and struggles to understand why they cannot produce a full house inside the Moody Center.

The women’s team has been to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament three times in the last decade, while the men’s team hasn’t reached the Elite Eight since 2008.

“I mean, we have a pretty good product put on the floor,” Schaefer said. “We have some of the best players in the country to watch. You shouldn’t take that for granted.”

Texas currently leads the Big 12 in defense, holding its opponents to a conference-low 58.4 points per game. The Longhorns’ offense is third in the conference, averaging 75.6 points per game.  

“They would not have gotten where they are today without a huge amount of sacrifice,” government senior Jacob Turner said. “I feel like it’s really important for people to come out and support that. It’s something that they care about.”     

The team has capitalized on their opportunities to meet students, appearing on Speedway, visiting sorority and fraternity houses and organizing theme nights. 

Bringing in a high volume of fans will lead to a more interactive game, according to sophomore guard Rori Harmon. She highlights the positive correlation between the audience and the players, saying how a loud and energetic crowd motivates the team to perform better.      

“It just gives us extra energy and … that’s what we need for more games to come,” Harmon said. “Those types of games where the fans come out like that, it gives us more industrial defense and fires us up to keep getting stops and scoring.”

Assistant head coach Blair Schaefer is confident Texas fans that haven’t been to a women’s game yet will continue to show up after they’ve been to one.

“All it takes is to get somebody to come to our game(s) one time and they’re hooked,” Blair Schaefer said. 

As Texas heads into the final stretch of the regular season, fans will have one last chance to see the team play at home this season. Texas will host Baylor on Monday night, and Vic Schaefer is pledging $10,000 to the Neighborhood Longhorns Program if 10,000 fans attend.