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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sellout expected for UConn/Temple game tomorrow

The ticket sales alone indicate that it is a sound business move for UConn to play at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena in between the fall and spring semesters.

A sellout crowd of 9,274 is expected when UConn and Temple play in Bridgeport tomorrow and that would be more than 1,000 additional fans than have been at any of the four games at the XL Center which has drawn between 7,961-8,186 during the first four regular-season games played there this season.

"When the students are in session, there is no better place to play than Gampel Pavilion," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "I think we've got something like 1,500-1,600 student tickets sold this year that is the most we have ever had so when we are in school, that is the place we should play, there is no place better but when the students are not in I think it gives us an opportunity to do things and I am all in favor of it.

"I hope it leads to more games (in Bridgeport) rather than fewer. In the past our contract really didn't give us an opportunity to do that but the new contract, we have the ability to explore other venues and this being somewhere we have already played (in five NCAA tournaments) and demonstrated that they support UConn women's basketball down here, I thought it was a natural. Who knows, maybe there are other places but right now this is a beautiful arena, I wish we had one of these on campus just like this, it is beautiful. They have done a fabulous job and they have a brand-new court and suites."

As Auriemma said, the XL Center used to have exclusive rights to the home games not played at Gampel Pavilion but in the most recent contract negotiations, a provision to have games played at another site was included.

The UConn men's team played Eastern Washington on Dec. 28 in Bridgeport and now comes the women's game. Whether there will be future regular-season games in Bridgeport is an idea still being discussed.

"I know there is already a lot of excitement for our fan base in that part of the state," UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel said. "We look forward to being there Saturday and seeing the same kind of excitement I saw a few weeks ago. We are still working through it but I know from the last experience, tickets sales there is a lot of interest in doing this."

One drawback to the game being played in Bridgeport it is is the eighth different arena UConn has played in during the last nine games.

"I was just thinking that since exams we have no played two games (back to back) since exams continuously, it is a game here, a game there, a game here so it has been hard to get in another kind of rhythm. We knew coming into the season that travel was going to be a challenge and it has been up to this point and there is a lot of it coming up."


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