But after I got past the headline,
I discovered that the Lady Tigers rank Number 15, according to unofficial
rankings provided by the
The Lady Tigers have arguably the best team ever, flirting all season with the top spot in the polls and all we can put in the stands is a the 15th-best attendance?
Unlike in the past, there has definitely been no grumbling about the level of emphasis on marketing the sport by coaches and fans. Coach Pokey Chatman has been nothing but complimentary of Athletic Director Skip Bertman's "commitment to market and promote our program at the highest level."
But despite that, Seimone Augustus and her teammates are only drawing about 5,000 fans per game. Even our "Pack the PMAC" game only ranked as the 25th largest attended game in the nation and the third largest home crowd for LSU. When a men's team draws 5,000 fans per game, it's not a good sign and people start wanting a new coach. But with a potential national championship women's basketball team playing every week in our city, we're shouting from the rooftops that, "We're #15."
That has a lot to do with the 2003-2004 season rankings. By comparison, last year's team finished 30th in the nation in attendance, according to the official NCAA attendance figures, averaging only 3,511 per game, despite a very emotional season and thrilling, though heartbreaking Final Four finish.
So who are the teams and cities
that are rallying around their women's sports? Of course, everyone expects
And at the time I'm writing this,
But despite the increased advertising, in-game promotions, more television exposure and greater commitment by the Athletic Department, we're just not able to drive fans to our games in great numbers with a stick.
The answer? Who knows? It is the debate at almost every college
marketing meeting in
I say if you have ever considered going to an LSU women's basketball game and found some other reason to stay home and watch the game on television, it's time to get up, go to your car and drive to the Maravich Assembly Center for one of the remaining home games.
If you want to honor the work Coach Sue Gunter has done in building this program, support the Lady Tigers on their quest to bring home a national championship trophy.
If you've heard about the talent of Augustus, do not let this young woman leave LSU without seeing her play – she's better in person than on your TV screen.
There is one thing this program cannot do for itself despite the money, advertising, TV time and talent the coaches and administration have put behind the sport of women's basketball at LSU. And that is to make this a community that loves women's basketball.
In that instance, the power is with the people. Can we make this team a leader not only in the national polls but in hometown support as well?
As my mother would say to us kids when we asked for something big, "We'll see."