With the 2020-21 NCAA women’s basketball season nearing its halfway point and March Madness around the corner, let’s talk arenas. It is virtually impossible to make a list highlighting all of the incredible facilities and arenas women’s basketball teams compete in across the country during our favorite sports betting season.
Let’s dive into ten of the top arenas to watch women’s college basketball based on the venue, fan base, and overall history and experience.
10. Colonial Life Arena: South Carolina
Colonial Life Arena, simply put a powerhouse. The South Carolina women’s basketball program has emerged as one of the top programs in the country. The 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena is the largest in the state of South Carolina. South Carolina leads the nation in attendance bringing in an average of 12,218 fans during the 2019-20 season.
On January 18, 2020, South Carolina unveiled a statue of legend A’ja Wilson outside its doors, making this one of the single greatest arenas of all-time for that fact alone!
9. KFC Yum! Center: Louisville
The Louisville faithful love their KFC Yum! Center almost as much as they love their Cardinals. Since 2010, the KFC Yum! Center has housed the women’s basketball team, which has become a national powerhouse in the last decade. The 22,000-seat multi-purpose arena cost $234 million to build and is arguably one of the best in college basketball. The Louisville women rank in the top five annually for attendance drawn at 9,690 in 2019.
8. Ferrell Center: Baylor
The Ferrell Center has served as home to the Baylor women’s basketball team for close to 34 years. Built in 1988, the capacity sits at 10,284 for basketball games, and the Lady Bears have remained steady in the top ten for attendance averaging 7,929 during the 2019-20 season. A handful of upgrades have taken place over the years, including state-of-the-art locker rooms, training rooms, media rooms, video boards, and the competition of the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. Practice facility in 2006.
7. Matthew Knight Arena: Oregon
The Oregon Ducks have turned heads in recent years with their continued growth and success under head coach Kelly Graves. Despite the post-Sabrina Ionescu-era, Matthew Knight Arena is home to one of the hottest fan bases in women’s college basketball.
Oregon has created an incredible atmosphere with its 12,364 multi-purpose arena since 2011. The floor design makes for one of the coolest in women’s college basketball. It appears to be looking up through the forest or, as they call it, a “Deep in the Woods.”
6. Humphrey Coliseum: Mississippi State
Open since 1975, the 10,575-seat arena, nicknamed “The Hum,” is home to the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. Mississippi State ranks as one of the largest drawing programs in the country, averaging 7,681 fans during the 2019-20 season, which ranks in the top 15 for the last four seasons. In 2018, “The Hump” announced plans to undergo a massive renovation including modern amenities, terrace seating, two new lobbies, a team store, expanded concession, and dining options. In 2017, a brand new permanent floor was installed, costing $132,000.
5. Gill Coliseum: Oregon State
Gill Coliseum is one of the oldest and most historic arenas in women’s basketball. Its doors opened in 1949 with a capacity of 9,301. It houses a state-of-the-art sports medicine center for all student-athletes. Gill Coliseum enhanced the facility with video boards, scoreboards, and underwent upgrades to locker rooms, weight room, equipment center, and athletics offices.
4. Hinkle Fieldhouse: Butler
It’s nearly impossible to talk about the best arenas without mentioning the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Built in 1928, Hinkle was the biggest arena in its time until 1950 and is the sixth-oldest arena still currently in use. It has been considered a National Historic Landmark since 1987.
During the summer of 2014, Hinkle underwent a major $36 million renovation with upgrades to locker rooms, office spaces, video rooms, hospitality suites, and an expanded weight room. Fun Fact: The final scene of Hoosiers was filmed in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
3. Hilton Coliseum: Iowa State
Iowa State is one of the toughest places for opponents to play in the country due to their consistent and loyal fan base. In 2019-20, the Cyclones ranked third in the country, averaging 9,690 fans per game. The forty-year-old facility opened its doors in 1971, costing over $8.15 million at the time. A massive renovation took place in 2006, which included scoreboards, video boards, offices, meeting spaces, and cushioned seating for fans.
2. Gampel Pavilion: UConn
The UConn Huskies have remained a powerhouse, and their attendance average has been in the top ten for the last decade. Gampel Pavilion proves to be a destination for any hoop head and basketball betting fanatic, housing their 11 National Championship banners as a constant reminder of their sheer dominance over the last 25 years. The 171,000-square-foot facility opened in 1990, holds 9,882 fans, and cost $28 million to complete at the time.
1. Williams Arena: Minnesota
“The Barn” opened in 1928 and is one of the oldest active arenas in the country and currently serves as the home for Minnesota women’s basketball. At the time it was built, it cost $650,000 to complete and had a capacity of 14,100. Williams Arena has undergone major renovations in 1950, 1991, and 1997 to its locker rooms, meeting spaces, and weight rooms. Its current capacity is 14,625.
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Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at BetMGM, HERO Sports, and Winsidr, focusing on college hoops and the WNBA. She’s a former D1 standout at Eastern Illinois University, a three-time Hall of Famer, professional basketball player and collegiate coach. Rachel also has served as a color analyst for ESPN, OVC Sports Network, and Mountain West Network.