The blowout upset of No. 1-ranked Maryland in women's basketball was not the only surprise at Cameron Indoor Stadium this past Saturday.
The house was packed-including the student section, which has been less than full even for men's games this season. The official attendance for the game was 9,314-a sellout crowd, and one that exceeded every other women's game this season in attendance by more than 2,250.
Attendees said the combination of a rematch of the 2006 NCAA Championship game and grace for Krzyzewskiville residents contributed to the high turnout.
Student attendance at games this season has been lower than in recent years. Duke Student Government President Elliott Wolf, a junior, chastised students and especially freshmen in a Dec. 15 e-mail to all undergraduates.
Another e-mail, sent Friday, encouraged attendance at Saturday's game and said grace would be extended for Sunday night to any tent with at least eight attendees.
"I think what was exciting about the game was that it was No. 3 versus No. 1, and they've played fantastic and they played with passion and aggression," said Kristina Johnson, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering, who was among the attendees. "The whole day was perfect."
Head Line Monitor Mara Schultz, a senior, said the grudge against the Terrapins-Maryland won the national title in a come-from-behind nailbiter last spring-drew many students, but she added that the amnesty to tenters was a major contributor to the turnout.
"I'd been planning to do it since the beginning [of tenting]," she said. "The women's team is really good and they should get the support they deserve. This was a way to kill two birds with one stone."
Sophomore Scott Eren said he has attended all men's games this season and went to most women's games last season. This was, however, the first women's game he attended this season, he said.
"It was more crowded in the student section than it's been for any of the men's games," he said. "It was just as loud as many of the men's games. This was a good game and I will start going to more of them."
Tracy Gold, a freshman and Maryland native, said she attended the game so she would have bragging rights over friends back at the state school.
That was enough to get her to come, but she added that the grace enticed many other students.
"After the men lost their first two ACC games, [this game] restored my faith in Duke basketball," she said. "It was really cool to see how much the women appreciated the cheering. I don't think they get that as much and they really enjoyed it."
Gold added that some seats in the student section had been sold to non-students.
"They were letting general-admission people into the student section, so there were a few random old people who weren't jumping around as much," she said.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.