Bulletin Staff Report

The attendance at NCAA Division III basketball games hit a record number during the 2006-07 season and American Southwest Conference champ Howard Payne was the top womenís draw in the nation, the NCAA recently announced.

The Lady Jackets (28-2) ó who won their second conference title in three years, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time and posted the programís best record ó drew an average home attendance of 1,490 in 17 games at the Brownwood Coliseum, 46 more than runner-up Wisconsin-Stout.

The Lady Jacketsí overall attendance number of 25,338 does not include the record crowd of 4,356 that witnessed Howard Payneís second-round NCAA tournament victory over Chapman on March 3.

The Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls finished eighth in the country with 793 fans per game, or 9,513 overall. As a conference, the ASC ranked first with 87,645 fans.

The national total of 10,878,322 womenís fans eclipsed the previous record of 10,163,629 set in 2003. The mark reflected all-time highs of 7,886,207 in Division I basketball, 1,697,569 in Division II and 1,183,146 in Division III.

On the menís side, the ASC also finished first among conferences in Division III with a 92,775 attendance figure.

Mississippi College led the conference and ranked fifth nationally with 29,945 fans. The ASC champion Choctaws averaged 1,232 fans per home game.

Total attendance nationally went up almost two million to 32,835,863, which broke last yearís record of 30,939,715. That number was helped by a record-high 27,705,912 fans who saw Division I games, topping the mark of 25,808,346 also set the previous season.