With her community service projects and youth clinics, June Daugherty might sound more like a politician than the Washington women”s basketball coach.

Daugherty”s grassroots campaign resulted in an average attendance of 4,179 fans at Bank of America Arena last season an increase of 1,900 fans from the year before. It gave the Huskies the 19th-largest average attendance in the country.

Michigan coach Sue Guevara said that before Sunday”s 71-70 win over the Huskies, she expected the atmosphere to be like an NCAA Tournament game. She was right. There was a dramatic finish to the game and a loud crowd of 3,311 in attendance 2,175 more than at Michigan”s home opener against Marquette.

Part of the increased fan base is due to the resurgence of Washington”s team last season. The Huskies, who finished ninth in the Pac-10 two years ago, won the conference title last season and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Daugherty has also brought fans to the Bank of America Arena by getting herself and her players out in the Seattle community. She attends many Lions, Rotary and Optimist clubs to give the members free tickets and to inform the community about the Huskies” brand of basketball and, more importantly, about the kind of players she has on her team.

The entire team works at youth shelters, homeless shelters, the Salvation Army and at the Seattle Children”s Hospital. Players and coaches also teach kids the game of basketball during 10 youth basketball clinics held over the summer. Daugherty”s players are also good students they led all NCAA women”s basketball teams last spring with a 3.59 team grade point average.

“If they find out what great role models these (players) are and you invite them to games and tell them you need a fan base and guarantee them an exciting game, it”s amazing how many people turn out,” Daugherty said yesterday.

Like any good politician, Daugherty has used the Seattle media to bring fans to games. She has weekly radio and television shows on which she receives calls from people all over the Northwest. The Huskies also receive good coverage from the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer because of the excitement Daugherty has created for Washington women”s basketball.

This isn”t the first time Daugherty has increased interest in women”s basketball. She made Boise, Idaho a women”s basketball town when she coached Boise State for seven years before leaving for Washington in 1996. The Broncos averaged just 500 fans per game the year before her arrival but were in the top 30 for attendance every season during her tenure, including an average of 4,003 fans in the 1993-94 season.

Injury Update: Michigan seniors Raina Goodlow and Heather Oesterle did not play in the Wolverines” games last weekend. Oesterle was injured during Thursday night”s practice in Seattle.

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