UConn coach Geno Auriemma was not expecting to see a large crowd at Gampel Pavilion today. Not after Winter Storm Nemo had dumped a ridiculous amount of snow on the state the past couple of days. But he was wrong.
A crowd of 8,861 was on hand to witness UConn’s 91-44 rout of DePaul. It was the third largest crowd of the season in six games at Gampel Pavilion – a sellout of 10,167 showed up to see Notre Dame Jan. 5 and 9,671 witnessed the Duke game Jan. 21.
“We’ve always had a core fanbase that’s been exceptionally loyal to us for the longest time, for as long as I can remember,’’ Auriemma said. “So these 8,800 people that came out I bet you they’re probably our absolute strongest fans and probably have been with us the longest. Maybe we should lock them up for a couple days before every weekend game and then let them out on the weekends. But it’s different here in Connecticut. We’re spoiled. We’re lucky to have the kind of fanbase that we have. Sometimes we take it for granted, but I said that there wouldn’t be anybody here because I was just worried that the roads weren’t any good and people would just say, `Forget it.’
“But this time of day has proven to be really, really successful for us. Like a Saturday at 4 o’clock or a Sunday at 3:30, 4 o’clock has proven to be really, really good. It doesn’t interfere with a whole lot of things and you can still get home at a decent hour. But it took a lot of effort for some people to get here and I’m … as well as the students. It took no effort for them. At least they made the walk down here. Sometimes they don’t even want to do that.’’