The second-most disappointed Bay Area university in the wake of the stunning upset of Stanford’s women’s basketball team Saturday is Cal.
Cal is the host school for this weekend’s NCAA women’s West Regional at the New Arena in Oakland and was not so secretly rooting for Stanford because of its drawing power.
This regional was one of the first scheduled at a neutral, off-campus facility, but now Cal officials wonder how Stanford’s first-round loss to Harvard will affect attendance.
Saturday’s Stanford-Harvard game drew 5,137 fans to Maples Pavilion, while Monday’s second-round Arkansas-Harvard game drew only 2,013.
“Clearly, we thought Stanford would be a draw and bring a lot of fans,” said Chris Dawson, Cal’s associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator. “It’s disappointing we may not have all those fans.
“We’re hoping a percentage of their fans are women’s basketball fans and will take advantage of a chance to see four good teams (Florida-Duke at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by Kansas-Arkansas, with the final Monday at 9 p.m.).
The New Arena holds 19,200, and 5,000 tickets have been sold, many to Stanford fans.
“It would be fair to say that if ticket sales don’t go as well as anticipated it would show fans have more loyalty to teams than have an appreciation for the (women’s) game,” Dawson said.