NCAA women’s basketball games will be played in four 10-minute quarters next season.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved moving the game to the new format and away from the 20-minute halves the sport has always used in NCAA competition on a conference call Monday.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, which initially recommended the rule change, believes the four-quarter format will enhance the flow of the game. The change also was endorsed by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors.

Teams will now reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth team foul in each quarter. Previously, teams reached a one-and-one bonus on the seventh team foul of each half and reached the double bonus (two shots) on the 10th team foul.

In the four-quarter format, team fouls reset to zero at the start of each quarter. However, if a team reaches the bonus in the fourth quarter, that team would remain in the bonus during any additional overtime periods.

Advancing the ball

The panel approved a rule that allows teams to advance the ball to the frontcourt following a timeout immediately after a made basket in the last 59.9 seconds of the fourth quarter and any overtime periods.

Teams also will be allowed to advance the ball to the frontcourt after securing the ball from a rebound or a change of possession. In these scenarios, the ball would be inbounded at the 28-foot mark on the side of the court where the scorer’s table is located.

The committee made the initial recommendation because it felt this change would add more excitement to offensive possessions at the ends of games because teams would no longer be required to travel the length of the court after inbounding the ball.

10-second backcourt exceptions

NCAA women’s basketball implemented the 10-second backcourt rule during the 2013-14 season. For the upcoming season, a team will not receive a new 10-second backcourt count when a throw-in results from the following:
· The ball is deflected out of bounds by the defense.
· There is a held ball and the possession arrow favors the offensive team.
· A technical foul is called on the offensive team while the ball is in its backcourt.

Post defense

The panel approved a new rule that allows defenders to place a forearm or an open hand with a bend in the elbow on an offensive post player with the ball whose back is to the basket.

Bands and amplified music

In an effort to improve the overall fan experience, bands or amplified music may be played during any dead-ball situation during a women’s basketball game. Previously, rules allowed music to be played only during timeouts and intermission.

Proposals tweaked

The committee has tweaked two of its timeout-centric recommendations for next season. The panel will discuss the potential rule changes during a conference call scheduled for June 24.

Under the new proposal, one media timeout in televised games would be permitted for each quarter. Media timeouts would occur at the first dead ball at or below the five-minute mark of each quarter and at the end of the first and third quarters. However, if a team calls timeout before the five-minute mark, that would be treated as the media timeout. Additionally, the first called team timeout in the second half would be treated as a full media timeout.

In the proposed format change, teams would have four timeouts (three 30-second timeouts and one 60-second timeout). A team may use the 60-second timeout at the discretion of the coach during the first or second half of the game. Teams would be allowed to carry over three of those timeouts into the second half. The committee’s original proposal recommended that teams be allowed to carry only two timeouts into the second half.

Each team would be awarded one 30-second timeout in each overtime period, plus any unused timeouts remaining from the second half. In non-televised games, teams would have five timeouts (three 30s and two 60s). As many as four of the timeouts could carry over into the second half.

The committee also recommended that, in the last two minutes of the game, officials can determine whether a shot-clock violation occurred by looking at when the clock runs down to zero in addition to listening for when the buzzer sounds.