Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Spirit group Texas Darlins hope to increase student attendance at women’s basketball games by bringing awareness

Lorianne Willett
The Texas Wranglers celebrate Texas’ win over Baylor on Jan. 20, 2024.

Members of Texas Darlins, a spirit organization on campus, show their support for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at home games, firing up the crowd with chants and cheers.

They’re currently working to find ways to increase student attendance at women’s basketball games in an attempt to get the campus population to learn more about the top five team. 

Senior Alexandria Sayegh serves as one of the basketball chairs this year, and for the sports management major, being a basketball chair for the spirit group means fostering closer relationships with each team’s staff members. However, it is especially important for her to keep a close connection with the women’s team. 

“Whether it be posting (Texas women’s basketball) on social media or doing some kind of event that can help them out … (we’re) always emphasizing that we are there to support them in any kind of sense,” Sayegh said. 

One of the most prominent methods that the spirit group uses to get the conversation going about women’s basketball is through social media, posting on Instagram about upcoming games. Another is through word of mouth, telling their personal experience of what it’s like being at the games to those attending men’s games, whether it be during class or through other opportunities. 

Sayegh and co-chair Gianni Cavitt are working on ways to have exclusive women’s basketball events with Darlins to post about them on social media, making students more aware of the team’s presence. 

“I feel like doing events with women’s basketball helps a lot, not just for Darlins, but just students in general,” Sayegh said. “I think doing events with them outside of just going to a women’s game would help a lot.”

A big problem that she notices with the attendance is that there is not enough support coming from the student section at the games, saying most of the time the section is empty. According to a November 2023 study by UT students, Texas WBB is ranked No. 12  in NCAA women’s college basketball average attendance, averaging 5,794 fans across 18 home games during the 2022-2023 season. But on average, roughly seven percent of these fans were students. 

“They’re good at getting alumni or season ticket holders to come out,” Sayegh said. “It’s the students that don’t want to go out.” 

One of the main reasons why Sayegh says she feels a need to support women’s basketball is because of the love from the team that is reciprocated back to the Darlins. To inspire the rest of the organization, she and co-basketball chair Gianni Cavitt organized a guest visit from players Aaliyah Moore and Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda, emphasizing how much the team appreciates the Darlins’ support. 

“We got two of their basketball players to come to our general meeting, and just them saying how much the support meant to them and them telling us ‘You are family to us now. We love Texas Darlins.’ It was awesome,” Sayegh said. 

For Texas women’s basketball, having students at the games brings a more exciting energy to the game. Junior forward Aaliyah Moore commented on the number of fans in the student section after the Feb. 4 game, saying how much she appreciated how “lit” the student section was. 

“We appreciate the fans, everyone that came out,” Moore said. “We couldn’t have done it without y’all. Y’all created a great atmosphere. (Students) just make the difference.” 

19% of students attended a Texas women’s basketball game in the 2022-23 season, and of those that attended, 43% attended more than one game, according to the same study in November.

“That’s why I try so hard to spread that to other people being like men’s games are fun, but I promise you, if you go to women’s games and you go with your friends, it will be just as fun,” Sayegh said. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.