PHILADELPHIA - For the second straight year, the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team topped the Ivy League and was one of 33 winners in the NCAA Division I "Pack the House" Challenge. There is one winner from each conference and the Quakers claimed the Ivy League title with one of their highest single-game attendance marks of the season.
NCAA will donate $500 to the nonprofit organization of each winning
institution's choice. Penn placed its donation toward the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the fight against Parkinson's Disease.
'Pack the House' winners were selected based on marketing plan, creativity and attendance criteria. 'Pack the House' is a national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance. NCAA Division I women's basketball marketing staffs selected a home game and designated that date as a 'Pack the House' game with the goal of setting an attendance record. Penn selected the Feb. 25 matchup with Harvard.
A total of 154 Division I institutions participated in the effort that attracted more than 430,000 fans. Sixty-four programs surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year. Penn hosted 1,112 fans for the 'Pack the House' challenge, which was the second highest total of the season and the third time the Quakers surpassed the 1,000 mark this season.
"In the fifth year of this initiative, we are pleased to see the continued increase in attendance, excitement and exposure for our women's basketball programs," said Greg Christopher, chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee and director of athletics at Bowling Green State University. "The year-in and year-out success of 'Pack the House' is a direct tribute to the commitment level put forth by the personnel at each campus. These efforts continue to help grow the game."
Last season, Penn claimed the Ivy League's 'Pack the House' Challenge championship for the first time. The Quakers hosted a season-best 707 fans against Columbia on Feb. 12, which at the time was the most since the 2009 season finale.
Winners of the 2011-12 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:
America East - Vermont
Atlantic Coast - Virginia
Atlantic Sun - Florida Gulf Coast
Atlantic 10 - Massachusetts
Big East - Marquette
Big Sky -Sacramento State
Big South - Winthrop
Big Ten - Iowa
Big 12 - Kansas State
Big West - Long Beach State
Colonial - Delaware
Conference USA - Memphis
Great West - New Jersey Institute
Horizon - Green Bay
IVY - PENN
Metro Atlantic - Canisius
Mid-American - Central Michigan
Mid-Eastern - Morgan State
Missouri Valley - Missouri State
Mountain West - Air Force
Northeast - Central Connecticut State
Ohio Valley - Did Not Participate
Pacific-12 - California
Patriot - Bucknell
Southeastern - Kentucky
Southern - Georgia Southern
Southland - Sam Houston State
SWAC - Southern University
Summit - Oral Roberts
Sun Belt - South Alabama
West Coast - Portland
WAC - Louisiana Tech
Independents - Longwood
California- Pacific 12