COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — The University of Maryland women’s basketball team is preparing for a Final Four showdown. It’s going to be an epic clash against UConn in Tampa.
Despite all the Terps’ recent success, they are not drawing big crowds and money for the program.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the disparity between the turnout for the men’s and the women’s teams.
The women’s basketball team in College Park won the national championship in 2006, and they have consistently had winning seasons. Now they are starting to get some of that recognition.
For the second straight year, the Terps women’s basketball team is headed to the Final Four. But–is College Park watching?
“The women’s team’s always been good and I think people should put more effort into following them, but I feel like people don’t necessarily,” said Tim Vail, junior.
The men’s team is still the school’s big moneymaker, with full stands versus some empty seats on the women’s side.
“So the men’s basketball is getting large, large dollars from the TV networks and from the corporate partners,” said John Maroon, Maroon PR.
WJZ went one-on-one with coach Brenda Frese.
“This school has been known as a men’s basketball school for a long time. Are the women making a name here now?”
“I would like to think so. Having won a national championship in 2006 and now having back-to-back Final Four runs. We’re a basketball school.”
But the disparity is evident in the coaches’ compensation–with men’s coach Mark Turgeon bringing in $2.2 million last year and women’s coach Brenda Frese making half of that.
Still, some say the women’s team is making big strides.
“I remember 15 years ago we would never be able to find a women’s college basketball game regardless if there was a chance to make it to the Final Four,” said Maroon.
Students say this women’s team is creating a buzz on campus.
“It’s really nice to hear that women are getting as much praise as the men’s team,” said Angel Gaskins, student athlete.
The excitement continues as the women’s team gears up for another big game.
Coach Frese tells WJZ her team is ready and they are focused. They’ll head to Tampa Thursday.
The Terps take on UConn Sunday night at 9 p.m.