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Women's basketball to "pack the house" Friday

Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 00:11

More than 4,000 elementary students from Walker County schools will visit Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum to watch NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball in the fifth annual “Pack the House” Challenge game Friday at 11 a.m.

The Texas A&M-Commerce Lions will visit the Bearkats for a non-conference basketball game while thousands of Sam Houston fans make their presence heard.

Each year a “Pack the House” challenge has been held at Johnson Coliseum, the attendance grows.

In its first year, the Bearkats played Southern Mississippi and drew in a record 2,261 fans. The year after that brought in 2,456 as Sam Houston squared off with Ole Miss. Last year, the team produced a whopping 3,141 fans as they defeated Mary-Hardin Baylor.

Sam Houston has won three out of the four “Pack the House” Challenge games it has played in.

“This year we are pushing for more than 4,000 fans to fill Johnson Coliseum,” Sam Houston head coach Brenda Nichols said. “If any fans haven’t experienced a Pack the House, it is an experience that they will not want to miss.”

“Pack the House” is put together every year by NCAA in order for conferences to build attendance while competing. The winners are awarded $500 in which the winning team donates to a non-profit organization of their choice.

Close to two-thirds of Division 1 institutions participated last year and attracted more than 559,000 fans.

“Our girls really look forward to the ‘Pack the House’ game,” Nichols said. “With all those kids in the coliseum, it’s just a great atmosphere. It’s a great way to introduce area youngsters to college athletics.”

Every person that comes to the game is counted in the overall total and attendance is a pivotal factor in determining who wins the award.

“We certainly hope that Sam Houston students, faculty and staff will want to come spend their lunchtime with us Friday and join in the fun,” Nichols said.

Sam Houston holds a 1-3 record coming into Friday’s game, but the Bearkats’ losses have come from some of the country’s top-ranked teams such as Delaware and Nebraska. And their schedule is not getting any easier. The team still has to play TCU and Albany this season along with some tough division games.

Senior Britni Martin leads the team with an average of 16.5 points per game and senior Sequeena Thomas adds 9.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Tickets to the “Pack the House” Challenge game can be purchased online at gobearkats.com/tickets or at the SHSU Athletic Ticket Office, which is located at Bowers Stadium. Tipoff for Friday’s game is set for 11 a.m.

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