Arizona Women's Basketball

School Making Push for Students to Attend Arizona Wildcats’ WNIT Games

The Zona Zoo prides itself as a two-time National Collegiate Student Section Association of the Year.

The Zona Zoo is in full force for men’s basketball, where sellouts are regular and being seen is as important as being there. For women’s basketball, it’s a much different story. The Zona Zoo is practically non-existent although coach Adia Barnes needs the help of students to make McKale Center a more formidable place for her burgeoning program.

For football games, the student section has long been criticized for leaving games by halftime.

Can the students step up beyond men’s basketball?

Barnes, athletic director Dave Heeke, football coach Kevin Sumlin and former Arizona standout Solomon Hill purchased 275 tickets for students for Thursday night’s WNIT game against Idaho State, won by the Wildcats 66-56.

Damien Alameda of KOLD Channel 13 offered this picture of the apathetic student section:

Some of the extra tickets had to be given away at will call:

The Zona Zoo tweeted that 300 tickets will be made available for students for the second round matchup against Pacific tomorrow at 3 p.m. As an incentive, the first 50 students receive free pizza.

Heeke and Sumlin have pledged to provide 100 of those 300.

An excuse I heard for the lack of turnout Thursday is that Arizona’s students are on spring break. That’s not the case. Arizona’s students were on spring break from March 2-10. And even if spring break was ongoing, how difficult is it for the thousands of students remaining in town to nab one of the 275 free tickets?

Barnes and the Wildcats’ athletic staff are undaunted in their quest for better attendance. The push is for Arizona to reach 5,000 fans for the game against Pacific.

As it is, Arizona had the second-most attended game out of the 32 WNIT first round games with 3,265 attending the game against Idaho State. Only Arkansas, with 3,689 for its 88-80 win over Houston on Thursday, had more than the Wildcats. Arizona and Arkansas were the only schools with more than 3,000.

The top five crowds with second round action starting today:

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2019 WNIT FIRST ROUND ATTENDANCE FIGURES

AllSportsTucson.com

Access full bracket at this link.

Arizona’s Quad

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Second Round
Tucson times

Sunday
South Alabama at Wyoming, 1 p.m.
Denver at Idaho, 2 p.m.
Pacific at Arizona, 3 p.m.
Pepperdine at St. Mary’s, 5 p.m.

Quad 2

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Second Round
Tucson times

Saturday
UT Arlington at TCU, noon
Kent State at Butler, 4 p.m.

Sunday
UAB at Arkansas, noon
Minnesota at Cincinnati, noon

Quad 3
Opposite of Arizona

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Second Round
Tucson times

Sunday
Middle Tennessee at Ohio, 11 a.m.
Northwestern at Toledo, 11 a.m.
Villanova at West Virginia, noon
Morehead State at Western Kentucky, noon

Quad 4
Opposite of Arizona

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Second Round
Tucson times

Sunday
VCU at Virginia Tech, 11 a.m.
South Florida at James Madison, noon
Georgetown at Harvard, noon
Penn at Providence 1 p.m.

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