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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas women’s basketball looks to improve attendance this season

Miya Tanner
Fans in the stands support the women’s basketball team in their Orange vs. White scrimmage in the Moody Center on Oct. 24, 2023. A boy caught one of the free t-shirts that cheerleaders and Hook’em launched during half time.

Texas women’s basketball played its annual Orange and White Scrimmage last Tuesday night at the Moody Center and the team offered incentives from Texas Athletics to increase attendance. Although the team has been on an upward trend for the past couple of years, their attendance numbers have not. 

The team gave away free pizza to the first 250 Texas students, along with limited edition trading cards that featured members of the team. After the game, all in attendance were invited courtside for free autographs and pictures with their favorite players. 

Last year, women’s basketball tried to use these same strategies to draw in a bigger audience, such as free admission, t-shirts or food. Head coach Vic Schaefer knows how important capitalizing on the Moody Center home court advantage is.

“The crowds are important, kids always play better in front of big crowds,” Schaefer said. 

However, Schaefer understands the duty of a bigger crowd not only falls on the students but on all other fans as well. Throughout his postgame speech to the fans who came to the scrimmage, he urged them to purchase season tickets and to keep coming back. 

“We averaged over 6,000 fans a game a year ago,” Schaefer said. “I think we have some area of growth (in) season tickets.” 

According to the Texas Athletics website, the team averaged 5,794 fans per game over 18 games. However, the numbers have steadily increased, as their average attendance from two years ago was a little over 3,500.

With the game as the first debut for Texas women’s basketball this season, senior guard Shay Holle appreciates the response and support the team has received so early in the season. 

“The Moody Center is so awesome, and it’s even better when fans are in it,” Holle said, “I thought we had a pretty good turnout for our orange and white scrimmage which was a lot of fun.”

Graduate assistant Ryan Yablonsky has now been with the team for four years in his current position and six years total with women’s basketball. During his time, Yablonsky has seen large crowds come out and support the team. 

“Last year we played Iowa State and Oklahoma, we had over 6 or 7,000 fans,” Yablonsky said. “It was absolutely an electric atmosphere.” 

Against Oklahoma at the Moody Center, a total of 6,623 fans came out to see the Longhorns beat the Sooners 78-58. In their home game against Iowa State, 6,405 filled the stands. The highest attendance came against Baylor, where 10,763 supporters filed into the new Texas arena.   

Some who came to support the Longhorns last Tuesday night have been showing up for decades. Becky Bumpass has come to games since the 1990s and is a Texas women’s basketball fanatic. 

“You got your diehard people like me who come to every game that I can,” Bumpass said. “This is the one main sport that I support.” 

Schaefer appreciates those who have been coming to games long before the start of his tenure at Texas and even has a name for the supporters. 

“I call them the choir,” Schaefer said. “I need them to help expand the congregation.” 

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About the Contributor
Emmanuel Ramirez, Senior Audio Producer
Emmanuel Ramirez is a journalism junior from Brownsville, Texas. Currently he works as the senior audio producer for Texan Overtime and previously was a general audio staffer. He enjoys throwing down on the grill and playing Smash Bros.