Jackrabbit fans rock Frost Arena

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

Only Megan Vogel has played before such an intense crowd in Frost Arena, but this time it was a different team in red.

“Anytime I get to play in Frost Arena as a senior, that is a special thing,” said senior guard/forward Megan Vogel. “That is the best part. I can’t tell you what it means to run out in Frost Arena. It’s unreal.”

March 17’s crowd proved how important the Women’s National Invitational Tournament is to SDSU. Although not capacity, over 5,719 people watched the Jacks topple Illinois State 61-48.

Fans stood outside the arena seven hours before tip off, painted themselves in blue and yellow and screamed at every call and basket. Some fans called the atmosphere “USD-like”, meaning Frost hasn’t been that lit since the last Jackrabbit/Coyote match up Feb. 28, 2004.

“It’s loud. I can’t even hear myself yelling at the players,” said Head Coach Aaron Johnston.

The two-hour game included antics saved for big games like this. Here are some of the highlights:

-A rough 200 people lined up outside Frost Arena waiting to grab their seat. The doors opened at exactly 5:30, with fans running through the ticket gates.

-The student section filled in the first 10 minutes. General admission was a slower to reach population, reserved seating even slower. But few minutes into the game, fans had spilled over into the aisle and the track.

-In terms of SDSU celebratory, it was a sparkling night. Dignitaries attending the game: U.S. Congressman John Thune; South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long; South Dakota Regents Dean Krogman, Carole Pagones and Tony Venhuizen; SDSU President David Chicoine; and former president Peggy Gordon Miller.

-Although no cowbells, fans took advantage of the balloons as they rigorously waved them with every basket and used them for distraction when the opponent was at the line.

-All the bells and whistles were present as the SDSU Pep Band, State Sensations and Black Alliance performed.

-The crowd pulled out their staple chants, including the “Megan Vogel.” A couple of local media also received some of the rock-star fame.

-Ten authorities, seven University Police Department and three Brookings Police Department, were on guard with 16 Air Force ROTC students ushering.

SDSU fans will get to try to out do themselves in a few days. Jon Wackle, WNIT site coordinator, announced SDSU will host round three against Indiana or Iona. The date will be announced Sunday, March 18 afternoon with tickets on sale at 1 p.m. the next day. Indiana and Iona will face off March 19.

Check the March 21 issue of The Collegian for more from Saturday’s crowd and WNIT coverage.

#1.883692:3918080598.JPG:IMG_0046.JPG:5,719 SDSU fans came through the ticket gates on Saturday night to see the Jackrabbit women take on Illinois State University in the second round of the WNIT.: