CHICAGO — If you’re a fan of basketball, especially DePaul, you’ll have your eyes on a football stadium in October.
That’s because the Blue Demons women’s basketball program is taking part in a game like no other against one of the best teams in the country.
For their fundraising exhibition contest against national runner-up Iowa on Sunday, October 15, the game is being played at the Kinnick Stadium – the school’s nearly 70,000-seat football venue. Proceeds from the contest will benefit the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
“It’s fun to think about,” said DePaul guard Anaya Peoples of the rare outdoor basketball game. “This is incredible. I think it’s amazing for women’s basketball. All that hard work and dedication, finally people are coming out, pack the stands, getting a full crowd just to see how hard we work.
“It’s going to be great competition. I’m anticipating a really good game.”
Already there have been 47,300 tickets sold to the contest between the Blue Demons and Hawkeyes. That would break the previous NCAA women’s basketball attendance record of 29,619, set in the 2002 national championship game between Oklahoma and UConn at San Antonio’s Alamodome of
It comes on the heels of 92,003 spectators watching a Nebraska volleyball match at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on August 30, a world record attendance for a women’s sporting event.
“Getting people to watch women’s basketball is a major part of the mission, is to get the normal sports fan to appreciate women’s athletics,” said DePaul head coach Doug Bruno, who has been the women’s basketball coach at the school since 1988 and is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
It’s a game whose roots could actually be traced to a closed-door scrimmage DePaul & Iowa played on the Lincoln Park campus in the fall of 2022, according to Bruno.
He and Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder then struck up a conversation about the competitiveness of the game and how it was a shame that no one saw it.
“That’s how things started to germinate,” said Bruno. “The rule is starting to change, I think schools are figuring out, if you just give the money to charity, you can play it publically. Last year we played at Texas and all the money went to charity for Uvalde.
“I said that to Lisa. I said, ‘Lisa, we’re playing Texas at Texas next week and it’s going to be public because the money is going to the Uvalde kids. I think that just got here thinking about it. So she called me and said would you be open to doing this – of course I’d be open to doing this.
“Anything to promote women’s basketball.”
Larry Hawley talked with Bruno and Peoples about this unique game coming up in October on WGN News Now, which you can watch in the video above.