The Iowa Hawkeyes and DePaul Blue Demons made history on Sunday, smashing the NCAA attendance record for the most fans at a women’s basketball game after 55,646 fans showed up for the exhibition game at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium.
The record was previously held by the the UConn Huskies and Oklahoma Sooners, who drew 29,619 supporters for the 2002 national championship game.
Sunday’s charity game, which was dubbed ‘Crossover at Kinnick’, raised around $250,000, with all proceeds going to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Hospital, which sits next door to the stadium.
Head coach Lisa Bluder also allowed her players to continue the tradition of waving to the hospital after the first quarter, which is typically done by the school’s football team and 70,000-plus supporters.
‘Why not give my women an experience that not many people around the country get to do?’ Bluder said in the lead-up to the game.
The Iowa Hawkeyes and DePaul Blue Demons set the NCAA record for most fans at a game
55,646 fans showed up to watch the ‘Crossover at Kinnick’ at Iowa’s football stadium
The game raised $250,000 for the school’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital located next door
Iowa went on to win the game 94-71, with Naismith Player of the Year Caitlin Clark shining
‘We´re going to be the first women´s basketball game televised in the country (this season). I think it brings national attention to not only our program but to the University of Iowa. Why wouldn´t we try to do this?’
Iowa went on to win the exhibition game 94-71, with reigning Naismith Player of the Year Caitlin Clark posting an impressive 34-point triple-double.
The game also served as Iowa’s answer to August’s ‘Volleyball Day in Nebraska,’ an outdoor doubleheader featuring the national power Nebraska Cornhuskers and three other in-state college teams that drew 92,003 to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln for the highest documented attendance ever for a women’s sporting event.
Players partook in the football team’s tradition of waving to the hospital after the first quarter
The broadcast showed those watching the game from the hospital waving back as per usual
Bluder said she came up with the idea for an outdoor basketball game when 9,000 fans showed up for a campus celebration for the Hawkeyes in April upon return from their NCAA championship game against LSU.
The Lady Hawkeyes have never been more popular in the state. The program is coming off it’s best season in large part thanks to Clark’s performance last year.
The outdoor game was especially meaningful to Clark, who grew up in West Des Moines. She’s often said her goal when she chose to play at Iowa was to lead the program to unprecedented heights.
‘I just hope and pray for good weather,’ Clark said leading up to the game. ‘I’m going to go out there and enjoy every single second because it´ll probably never happen again.’