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NCAA Women’s Sweet 16 draws fans to Kansas City’s Sprint Center

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A lot of attention might be on the men's NCAA Tournament right now, but women’s basketball is invading Kansas City this weekend.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional tipped off with a pair of games Friday at the Sprint Center. Kansas City's region featured all four top seeds, including last year’s runner-up Missisippi State, which brought a lot of maroon-clad fans to spend some green in the metro.

Fans from UCLA, Texas, North Carolina State and Mississippi State all are in town to cheer on their squads. The fun began Friday at Power & Light with pre-game pep rallies. The largest contingent seemed to be those supporting the Bulldogs.

“Seeing all these fans here has been so fun, especially supporting our women’s basketball team. This is awesome," said Stacey Zimmerman, who drove in for the game from Minnesota.

"Are you excited?" she asked her daughter.

"I love this!” she replied.

The Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the women’s regional will bring $5.2 million in business to town.

“Women’s basketball is right at the top of the list in terms of things that our alumni and fans are passionate about," Mississippi State Alumni President Jeff Davis said. "So we are excited our fans have booked rooms and flights for Monday morning because it’s a business trip. We came to win."

“I’m sure KU will certainly take precedence around here, but we want Kansas City to know the maroon nation is in town, and we are here to spend our money and enjoy all the great things that Kansas City has to offer and wear our maroon pride," Mississippi State fan Brad Garrison said.

Mississippi State defeated NC State 71-57 in the regional opener to move on to Sunday’s Elite 8 where they will take on UCLA. Tickets for Sunday's game are still available for $23 and just $13 for students.

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