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March 17, 1988 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

25,000 seats sold and 3,000 wanting to get in at Tennessee: Coach Pat Summitt (left) and a shaken-up player

officials tried to find room for an extra
3,000 fans clamoring outside the sold-out,
25,000-seat arena.
So who are these newfound fans of the
women's game? Oddly, it's not fellow stu-
dents who are leading the charge to the
arena, but college-town adults and their
families. Consider Iowa fan John Roesler,
36. Not only does he attend every home
game, but last year he took his wife and
three kids on an 181/2-hour bus ride to
watch Iowa play at Louisiana Tech. Iowa
lost, but that didn't keep Roesler and fam-
ily from traveling all the way to Miami last
December to watch their team win the Bur-
ger King Classic. Roesler says that the
women are just as exciting to watch as the

men-once you get used to the different
style. "Don't believe for one moment that
women's basketball is boring," he says.
"Comparing women's to men's is like com-
paring apples to oranges."
In fact, there are those who say the
women's game, with its emphasis on
play-making, precision passing and ac-
curate shooting, is a "purer" form than
the elbow-flinging, skyscraper competition
that dominates the men's contests. "It's an
exciting brand of basketball," says Linda
Sharp, head coach of Southern Cal's Tro-
jans. "It's a game of more finesse, better
ball handling and more accurate shoot-
ing than men's basketball. That's be-
cause it's played entirely below the rim-

there are no sure points by dunking."
Still, at most schools, fewer than half the
fans are students. "Attendance has defi-
nitely gotten stronger over the past few
years," says Sharp. "But I'm still not seeing
enough students. It's really too bad.
They're usually the most vocal." Only a few
hundred students typically show up to
watch the Trojans-the team that spawned
1984 Olympic hero Cheryl Miller and that
has won two national championships.
Some universities have resorted to gim-
micks to boost enthusiasm. Iowa promotes
the family-entertainment value of wom-
en's basketball with its "coach for a day"
contest. Children enter drawings at Wen-
dy's restaurants and, if they win, get an

Show of hands: Iowa jump shot (left), Texas Tech Bleacher Creatures


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