25 years ago a game at Iowa set a record when 22,157 fans showed up

On a winter day in 1985, women’s basketball fans showed an enormous amount of support as 22,157 fans squeezed into the 15,500-capacity Carver-Hawkeye Arena at Iowa for a game between two of the Big Ten’s elite. The Hawkeyes hosted Ohio State.

On February 3, 1985, the arena was packed 90 minutes before the game and police encouraged fans on the roads to turn around but the people kept coming. The authorities pleaded with women’s athletic director Christine Grant to do something but it was out of her control. The next day the university sent her a letter of reprimand. She said getting the letter was worth it.

Ohio State won the contest in front of the record crowd yet coaches and players on both sides remember the game with proud nostalgia. Ohio State’s Tracy Hall scored 13 points and Carla Chapman added 12 to lead the Buckeyes to victory.

“I wish I could turn out the lights and freeze that moment in time,” former Iowa State coach C. Vivian Stringer said last week to Cedar Rapids’ Gazette newspaper.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer was at the helm of the Ohio State team at the time. She and Stringer were overcome with emotion at the turnout and when they met each other at midcourt, each had tears in her eyes. “Oh my God. This is incredible,” said VanDerveer according to Stringer.

That night, the crowd set a Big Ten attendance record and broke the NCAA attendance record. However, it is not recorded as the highest attendance in league history because the official paid attendance was 14, 821 but the turnstile report had a different story.

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