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Lady Griz fans crack top 40 again

MISSOULA — For the 30th time in the last 31 years, the Montana women’s basketball team has ranked in the top 40 in the nation in home attendance. The Lady Griz attracted more than 51,000 fans to Dahlberg Arena last winter, an average of 3,026 that ranked 38th.

Montana nearly doubled the average of 1,519 that the nation’s 343 NCAA Division I programs drew last season.

South Carolina, at 12,293, and Tennessee, at 10,375, both averaged more than 10,000 fans for its home games. It marked the first time since 1993-94, when Ohio State ranked first, that a program other than Tennessee or Connecticut led the nation in attendance.

Rounding out the top five were Louisville (9,515), Iowa State (9,289) and Notre Dame (8,544).

Montana led the Big Sky Conference in attendance, outdrawing both North Dakota (1,738) and Montana State (1,065), the only other league schools to average more than 1,000. The Big Sky ranked 16th out of 32 Division I conferences, with an average of 956.

Montana ranked in the top 15 in home attendance the first 13 years (1984-85 through 1996-97) the NCAA kept the statistic for women’s basketball, peaking at 5,235 fans in 1994-95. The Lady Griz have ranked between 36th and 40th the last six seasons.

Montana, which has had eight undefeated seasons at home and another 10 with just a single loss, has a home record of 514-73 (.876). Only Tennessee (.914) and Louisiana Tech (.884) have won at Knoxville and Ruston at a higher percentage than the Lady Griz have in Missoula.

Dahlberg Arena, where the Lady Griz are 505-67 (.883), ranks as the sixth-toughest arena for a visiting team to win. The top three: Florida Gulf Coast’s Alico Arena (127-8, .941), Connecticut’s Gampel Pavilion (301-19, .941) and Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena (402-28, .935).

Also ranking ahead of Montana’s home court are Connecticut’s XL Center (149-14, .914), the Huskies’ off-campus home in Hartford, and Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Kress Events Center (120-13, .902).

Montana Sports Information



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