The first year of former Arizona Wildcats standout Adia Barnes coaching her alma mater brought with it one of the best increases in attendance in the Pac-12 from the previous season.
Arizona’s increase in average attendance at McKale Center went from 1,386 in 2015-16 (Niya Butts’ last season) to 1,839 in 2016-17 (during Barnes’ inaugural season as coach). The plus-453 average is the fourth-highest increase in the Pac-12. The NCAA released this week its men’s and women’s basketball attendance data for the 2016-17 season.
Here is the data for highest average increase from the previous season in Pac-12 women’s basketball:
Arizona’s average attendance of 1,839 (29,422 fans in 16 home games) ranks eighth overall in the conference.
Barnes’ program improved to 14-16 overall and 5-13 in the Pac-12 in 2016-17 after going 13-19 and 3-15 the previous year before her arrival.
The Wildcat men’s program continued to lead the Pac-12 in attendance, a streak that goes back to the 1984-85 season, Lute Olson’s second in Tucson. They averaged 14,410 fans a game in 2016-17, down slightly from the 14,526 average from the previous season.
Utah was next at 12,050 fans a game followed by UCLA at 11,182.
Since the start of the 1987-88 season — Arizona’s first trip to the Final Four that year — the Wildcats have played to more than 97 percent of capacity for all of its home games in that span – 458 games following 2016-17.