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Women's Basketball in Southern California - still a tough sell

by Calvin Morris

Women's basketball has always been a tough sell in Southern California. Women's professional leagues failed exponentially faster than they were created. The WNBA still exists because it is subsidized by the NBA. Even in the days when UCLA and USC were vying for national championships and both universities were major contributors to the USA national team, attendance was low compared to the top teams. Still, it was a surprise that the attendance at the second seasonal meeting of UCLA and USC was under 3,000. Athletic events between these cross-town rivals usually generate additional interest. The announced attendance for their first game of the season was 6675. UCLA was ranked in the top ten nationally. Admission was free but the attendance was slightly above average for a PAC-10 game.

Observed from another perspective, only 15 of the 332 Division I schools averaged in the more than 5,000 spectators in the 2009-2010 season. Winning percentage, style and intensity all affect attendance. Fast break and quick passing teams are more exciting to watch than static offenses, Likewise, high-pressure, opportunistic defenses with, shot-blocking and ball-stealing are more entertaining than conservative defenses. Ultimately, teams have to play the type of game that gives them the best chance to win.  The best teams play for the love and understanding of the game.   Entertainment value, media coverage and crowd size are measures popularity not basketball skills.

UCLA was the better team when they faced USC on January 8, 2011 . Playing on their home court, the venerable Pauley Pavilion, UCLA limited USC to only 13 first half points while scoring 26. USC improved in the second half but was outscored 35-29. The 19 point victory was greater than the score indicated,

(Box Score and Play-by-Play


The February 6, 2011 game at USC's Galen Center was closer but, with no surprises, UCLA was still the better team. UCLA led 37-34 at the half . USC continued to play well in the second half but was outscored 37-34.

(Box Score and Play-by-Play


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