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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 this past season at home, 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. I can't wait to see what Gamecock Nation has in store for the entire country to see," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.

The Gamecocks made it to the Final Four last season and are poised with most of the team returning to make a return trip.

This was the first time since 1994 that neither nor UConn was No. 1 in attendance. The national champion Huskies were sixth this season, averaging 8,216 fans.

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

The total (1,011,451) is the fourth best by any league in NCAA history and only the Big 12 has had more in a single season.

In all, more than 8.1 million fans took in games this year, the fourth-highest total in the 34-year history of women's basketball. That includes an increase of nearly 2,400 fans at the NCAA Tournament from last year.

"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."