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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New coach, improved play helped boost attendance

 •  UH gambling on upset

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team more than doubled turnstile attendance, season ticket sales and overall ticket revenues from last season.

The Rainbow Wahine open the single-elimination Western Athletic Conference Tournament today in Reno against regular-season champion Fresno State. UH is 10-19, an improvement from last year's 8-23 finish.

But the biggest gains have been at the turnstiles and box office, according to figures from UH.

Turnstile attendance rose from an average of 257 in 2008-09 to 718 this season.

In addition, UH said ticket revenue jumped from $20,250 to $42,464 this year with the biggest leap coming in season ticket sales. Revenue from season tickets was $20,904 this year compared with $11,640 in 2008-09.

New head coach Dana Takahara-Dias "resonates really well with the community, both in what she says and how her team performs," said athletic director Jim Donovan.

Dias replaced Jim Bolla in May.

Even with the rises, UH is still expected to show a nearly $1 million shortfall on women's basketball. "Anything that is better than the year before helps us decrease our overall deficits," Donovan said.

UH is projected to be about $2.6 million in deficit for the current fiscal year that ends June 30, with an accumulated net deficit of $10.1 million.