Bridgeport tickets pricier than other NCAA sites

PAT EATON-ROBB Associated Press Published:

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- It will cost Connecticut fans a lot more to see a women's NCAA tournament game this season than fans of teams such as Notre Dame.

Bridgeport had by far the highest ticket prices of any of the sub-regional sites for the women's tournament.

A single-day ticket to see top-seed UConn face 16th-seeded Prairie View A&M and eighth-seed Kansas State take on ninth-seed Princeton cost $41. A package for all three games at the site sold for $62.

The single-day price was at least $15 higher than at any other site and $11 above what a single-day ticket costs during the upcoming regionals in Kingston, R.I.

The all-session price was $20 higher than the $42 charged at the Chicago sub-regional and the $50 charged in Kingston and Fresno, Calif for the regionals.

The cheapest adult ticket for a single day was $16 for first-and-second round sessions in Nashville and Baton Rouge, La.

Gene Doris, the athletic director at Fairfield University, which hosted the first-and-second round games in Bridgeport, said the biggest reason for the price disparity is the cost of doing business at an off-campus site. Most of the other games are being played at on-campus facilities, while the games in Bridgeport are at the downtown Webster Bank Arena.

"Do I think the price is fair? I think it's fair," he said. "If you go to a movie in this market, or go out to dinner in this market, it's a lot higher."

Only 4,563 people showed up for Saturday's games in Bridgeport. That was down from over 6,500 in 2008, the last time the arena played host to a sub-regional.

"We should go pay-per-view, I would like that" joked UConn coach Geno Auriemma. "You could let everybody in the building free or $5 and charge everybody to stay home and watch it on TV."

Tickets to a regular season UConn game cost $22.

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LEFT-OUT ACC: Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph says the decision to leave North Carolina and Virginia out of the field of 64 was "scary."

Four Atlantic Coast Conference teams -- Duke, Maryland, Miami and Georgia Tech -- claimed seeds of No. 4 or better in the NCAA tournament. But they were the only ACC teams to make the field.

The Tar Heels (20-11) and Cavaliers (23-10) were among the bubble teams that weren't picked. North Carolina had an unofficial RPI ranking of 89, while the Cavaliers were at No. 50.

"It's scary to me as a coach in the ACC. It's something we've got to look at," Joseph said. "And we've got to figure out what happened, because I feel both of those teams were very deserving of postseason play, and both of them are very competitive programs."

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SISTER SISTER: Creighton brings a pair of sister acts into the NCAA tournament.

Ally Jensen is a starting guard for the Missouri Valley champion Bluejays and her little sister, Sammy is a reserve.

Freshman Taylor Johnson's big sister, Morgan, is also in the Big Dance, albeit as a starter at Iowa.

"It's just a great experience, just growing up and playing in AAU tournaments and state tournament and now we'll get an opportunity to play at the highest level here," Sammy Jensen said. "It's fun."

The Johnson sisters, who have gone up against each other in closed scrimmages between the two teams, are on opposite sides of the bracket and couldn't face off without an unlikely matchup in the national championship game.

Creighton is the 14th seed in the Fresno Regional and Iowa is the No. 9 seed in the Raleigh Regional.

"I'm wishing them the best of luck and everything," Taylor Johnson said. "Just really excited that we're both in the tournament."

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PRESIDENTIAL SHOUT OUT: Elena Delle Donne heard her name loud and clear.

The standout Delaware junior, who leads the country in scoring with 27.5 points per game, was singled out by President Barack Obama when he announced his NCAA women's tournament bracket earlier this week.

Obama predicted the third-seeded Blue Hens (30-1) to advance to the regional finals before losing to top-seeded Baylor. He picked Delaware to defeat second-seeded Tennessee along the way, naming the 6-foot-5 Delle Donne as one of the primary reasons.

"Obviously, I'm still smiling about it right now," Delle Donne said. "It's an honor. We were just all thrilled about it, that the president was talking about our team. It's another motivator to go out there and do the best we can."

The Blue Hens open Sunday against Arkansas-Little Rock (20-12), which is making its third straight tournament.

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AGGREIVED BUCKEYES: Ohio State coach Jim Foster is still miffed that his team was seeded eighth in its regional, and playing a virtual home game at Bowling Green is little consolation.

"In my mind, we have one of the most exciting and dynamic players in women's college basketball," Foster said. "We need to sell our game. The people of Ohio have seen her for four years. I think it would have been a wonderful opportunity to go into another environment."

The Buckeyes and star guard Samantha Prahalis will take on ninth-seeded Florida on Sunday. Bowling Green's Stroh Center will also be the host venue for Brittney Griner and undefeated Baylor, and Foster isn't thrilled about that either.

"Quite frankly, I'd like to see Brittney Griner in Chicago this weekend," Foster said. "All due respect to Bowling Green, it's the third-largest media center in the United States. You've got NBA players tweeting about her gifts. A player like that comes along once in a lifetime. Sell the game."

Foster said he had a chat Saturday with Bowling Green athletic director Greg Christopher, the chair of the NCAA selection committee. Foster wouldn't elaborate much on what was said.

Ohio State (25-6) is making its 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament but would have preferred more favorable treatment.

"Just curious from a historical perspective and the history of the NCAA tournament: Has there ever been a team that was 8-4 against the top 50 RPI seeded eighth?" Foster said. "And if not, why a history-making decision?"

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Associated Press sports writers Kurt Voigt, Joedy McCreary, Noah Trister and Jeff Latzke contributed to this report