Posted January 17th, 2018
On Monday, 11,877 people filed into the Frank Erwin Center to watch the No. 9-ranked Texas women play No. 1 Connecticut. The Huskies won a thrilling game 75-71
The Erwin Center seats about 16,734 people, and before the game Texas was rightfully excited that they were expecting more than 10,000 fans. They did. In fact, Texas had the biggest crowd since 2007 when the Horns played Oklahoma in front of 11,245 fans.
But what is the largest crowd the Texas women’s team — one of the most successful programs in UT athletics history — has ever played in front of at the Erwin Center?
Well, it’s kind of a trick question.
Texas, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, hosted the 1987 Women’s Final Four at the Erwin Center. They played Louisiana Tech in the national semifinal in front of 15,303 fans on March 27, 1987. The defending National Champions lost to LaTech 79-75. Tennessee went on to win the championship with a 67-44 victory over the Bulldogs.
That’s the largest crowd. But what about regular season? On Jan. 22, 1988, Texas played Mississippi in front of 14,413 fans. That game broke the previous non-NCAA Tournament game record from earlier in the year when Texas played the Soviet National Team on Nov. 18, 1987 in front of 12,358 fans.
The largest conference game crowd came when Texas Tech was still considered one of the top women’s basketball programs in the sport. On Feb. 24, 1996, Texas and Texas Tech played in front of 14,115 fans, which broke a record set the year before on Feb. 25, 1995 when Texas played Tech in front of 12,378 fans.
Doing research for this article I found this paragraph on the UT website that called the Erwin Center a “mecca of collegiate basketball”:
The Frank Erwin Center [16,540 capacity] has been the home of Texas Basketball since the 1977-78 season. The site of tremendous moments in UT basketball history, the Erwin Center is also a mecca of collegiate basketball. One step inside “The Drum” reveals an arena bathed in burnt orange and numerous banners chronicling the rich championship tradition of Texas Basketball. Visible for miles when burnt orange floodlights illuminate it at night, the Frank Erwin Center is a beacon on UT’s campus. The building is named for former UT Board of Regents member Frank Erwin.
This year there probably isn’t going to be another game where Texas gets 11,000+ fans — but hey, anything can happen. But that’s not out of the ordinary. The highest average attendance for a UT women’s season is 8,009 fans over 14 games in 1994-1995. Currently Texas is averaging 4,798 fans per game.
Leading the Big 12 in attendance is Iowa State with a jaw-dropping 9,706 average attendance. To put that in perspective, that is a higher average than six Big 12 men’s basketball teams, and one of those teams currently has the national player of the year favorite on the roster, Oklahoma (9,484).
And no, Texas men’s basketball is not one of the six teams. They are averaging 10,019 fans per home game.