Basketball fans pack Amalie for NCAA Women's Final Four

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The four best women’s college basketball teams went head-to-head Friday night inside Amalie Arena during the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

There was a big show of team spirit in Tampa for all four colleges, many fans sharing the lengths they went through just to make sure they got a seat inside the arena. A party atmosphere pumped up thousands of fans ahead of the games.

“The women are the only ones that know how to play basketball. They’re just fun to watch,” said Lisa Batten, a UConn fan.

Fans arrived sporting UConn, Baylor, Notre Dame, or Oregon colors, and some were covered in sports gear from head to toe.

“I’m ducked out. That’s all I can say,” said Debi Garvin, an Oregon Ducks fan.

Many traveled from across the country to watch what their team play in Tampa.

“I was in a meeting in St. Louis and I wouldn’t pack until after the game because of superstition. So I just threw some stuff in my suitcase and called my friend. She lives in Florida and I said ‘Can I still stay with you?’ And she said yeah, so changed my tickets and came down to watch the Ducks,” said Garvin.

Some fans gambled in another way to get inside to watch the game.

“We’re coming from Michigan, but we were vacationing here in Florida and thought Notre Dame has the chance to make the final four in Tampa. So why not give it a shot?” said Notre Dame fan Chad Dunneback, who said he bought tickets for his family three weeks ago.

The four colleges are the best in the country, and every fan expected a dynamic fight to the finish from their team.

“They do not quit. They play really hard,” said Greg Westbrook, a Baylor fan. “They play great defense and they have fun. They do, they have fun.”

It made for some memorable moments for fans visiting Tampa.

“It’s pretty special to be here, first final four ever,” said Dunneback.

There are free events happening through the weekend for fans, including basketball clinics for children and a Gavin DeGraw concert at Curtis Hixon Park on Saturday.