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South Carolina new No. 1 in women's hoops attendance

South Carolina has ended Tennessee's 11-year run atop the attendance standings in women's basketball.

The Gamecocks averaged 12,293 fans at home the past season, the most in the country. The Lady Vols were second, with 10,375. South Carolina jumped nearly 6,000 fans per game this season.

"I experienced a packed house at Colonial Life Arena for all of our home games, but it still amazes me to read what took place on our campus, our city, our state last season," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "I can't wait to see what Gamecock Nation has in store for the entire country to see."

The Gamecocks made it to the Final Four the past season and have most of the team coming back to attempt a return trip.

This is the first year since 1994 that neither Tennessee nor UConn is No. 1 in attendance. The national champion Huskies were sixth the past season, with an average of 8,216 fans.

Buoyed by South Carolina and Tennessee, the Southeastern Conference led the nation in women's basketball attendance and became just the second league in NCAA history to top the one million mark. It's the first time since 1984 that the conference is No. 1 in attendance, and this snaps a string of 15 straight seasons in which the Big 12 led the nation.

The SEC total (1,011,451) is the fourth-best by any league in NCAA history. Only the Big 12 has recorded more attendance in a single season.

In all, more than 8.1 million fans attended games the past season, the fourth-highest total in the 34-year history of NCAA women's basketball. There was an increase of nearly 2,400 fans at the NCAA Tournament from the previous season.

"We're pleased to see women's basketball attendance continuing to rise, as it indicates fan support for the sport and an allegiance to favorite NCAA college and university teams," said Anucha Browne, vice president of women's basketball championships.

"Fans continue to follow women's basketball, and the attendance figures indicate this past year was full of excitement during the team tournament runs as well as during the regular season."

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