March 14, 2012
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears were both the Pac-12 Conference and national winners in the NCAA Division I "Pack the House" Challenge, the NCAA announced.
"Pack the House" is a national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance. NCAA Division I women's basketball marketing staffs selected a home game and designated that date as a "Pack the House" game with the goal of setting an attendance record. One winner from each of the 32 conferences and one from a group of independent institutions are chosen each year, with the selections being based on marketing plan creativity and attendance criteria. The NCAA will award prizes and donate $500 to the nonprofit organization of each winning institution's choice.
And with 153 institutions participating in the effort this year, attracting more than 431,000 fans, pack the house, they did.
The Bears hosted 7,864 fans at the Battle of the Bay home game against Stanford to close out the regular season. Events at Army, Baylor, Canisius, Delaware, Georgia, Green Bay, Kansas State, Maryland Eastern Shore, Navy, Sacramento State and Stanford produced sell-out crowds. Sixty-nine programs surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year.
"In the fifth year of this initiative, we are pleased to see the continued increase in attendance, excitement and exposure for our women's basketball programs," said Greg Christopher, chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee and director of athletics at Bowling Green State University. "The year-in and year-out success of Pack the House is a direct tribute to the commitment level put forth by the personnel at each campus. These efforts continue to help grow the game."
The Bears "packed the Haas" with over 7,000 fans for the Battle of the Bay, the first crowd of more than 7,000 since the 2009 Battle of the Bay. Despite the 6pm Sunday game time, the crowd was filled with numerous kids who took advantage of the Cal Kids Days booths outside the arena to make posters, get blinged out, and have their faces painted.
"We were blown away by the support of our fans that day," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "Our fans have been fantastic all season long. We can't thank them enough for their support this season. To see so many of them on that day... it made Haas an electric place to play. We hope they enjoyed the special environment and will come out to more games next season."
The Bears ended the season with a 13-3 home record.
Winners of the 2011-12 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:
America East - Vermont Atlantic Coast - Virginia Atlantic Sun - Florida Gulf Coast Atlantic 10 - Massachusetts Big East - Marquette Big Sky -Sacramento State Big South - Winthrop Big Ten - Iowa Big 12 - Kansas State Big West - Long Beach State Colonial - Delaware Conference USA - Memphis Great West - New Jersey Institute Horizon - Green Bay Ivy - Pennsylvania Metro Atlantic - Canisius Mid-American - Central Michigan Mid-Eastern - Morgan State Missouri Valley - Missouri State Mountain West - Air Force Northeast - Central Connecticut State Ohio Valley - Did Not Participate Pacific-12 - California Patriot - Bucknell Southeastern - Kentucky Southern - Georgia Southern Southland - Sam Houston State SWAC - Southern University Summit - Oral Roberts Sun Belt - South Alabama West Coast - Portland WAC - Louisiana Tech Independents - Longwood