When the Dayton women’s basketball team travels to Butler for its Atlantic 10 opener on Saturday, the Bulldogs had better be ready to deal with more than just a powerhouse squad still stinging from its first loss of the season.
The Flyers also will be bringing their own fan support.
Duplicating a promotion they held last year for the Xavier road game, the Flyers offered fans a complimentary ticket and free bus ride to Indianapolis, and the response was overwhelming.
Three charter buses were needed to accommodate those who signed up, and 168 fans will leave from UD Arena at 8:30 a.m. for the noon game. They’ll see a video highlight package during the trip along with a message from 10th-year coach Jim Jabir.
The UD marketing department is paying for the first bus, while the cost for other two will come out of the women’s basketball budget.
“When you look at where we’ve come in 10 years, to get three busloads of people coming to a HOME game would have been a feat,” Jabir said. “For these people to spend an afternoon traveling all the way to Indianapolis just to support the kids is great. It says a lot about where we’ve come, and we’re all very, very grateful for it.
“We’ve developed relationships with these people. They truly do care. They’ve bought in. They really, really have a feeling of ownership with the program. They feel proprietary. It’s their team, and I think that’s wonderful.”
The Flyers (12-1) have been nationally ranked for eight straight weeks and are No. 17 in the coaches poll and 22nd in the AP Top 25. But the A-10 preseason favorites were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 65-40 setback at Bowling Green on Dec. 30.
“We’ve addressed some issues that plagued us the last time out. I’d like to think we’re ready to go,” Jabir said.
“I think (at BG) we were kind of cocky and full of ourselves, actually. I don’t think we were ready to play. I think they were pretty primed and ready. They remembered last year when we beat them by 30. And I think being 12-0 probably played games with our heads. We’ve addressed that, too.”
Men’s basketball: Fewer than 500 tickets are available for Flyers’ game with 14th-ranked Butler at 2 p.m. Saturday. The tickets are in the top corners of the arena and cost $20 for adults and $10 for high school students and children (ages 2 and under are free).
UD has a surplus because students are still on semester break. They start classes again Monday, and about 400 have claimed tickets for the game, down from the usual 1,200.
UD began giving students a longer holiday break last year, which has cut into attendance. Still, the Flyers’ average crowd has been 12,243, about 100 more than last season.
Tickets can be purchased at DaytonFlyers.com or by calling (937) 229-4433.
A few single-seat A-10 ticket packages also are still available at $80. In addition to Butler, the eight-game set includes the clash with rival Xavier, which is otherwise sold out.