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Greg Johnson | | May 18, 2016

Rules group pleased with state of women's basketball

A year after several rules changes in women’s basketball designed to improve the pace of play, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee is pleased with the state of the game, committee members decided during their annual in-person meeting in Indianapolis.

And though the committee discussed other rules changes that may further improve the game in the future, the chief discussion was about how last year’s major changes had influence women’s basketball so far. Among those changes were:

  • A change to play the game in four periods instead of two halves.
  • Resetting the team fouls after the first, second and third periods.
  • Eliminating the one-and-one bonus and instead shooting two free throws when a team reaches a fifth team foul in a period.
  • Reducing team timeouts from five to four in media games.
  • Giving teams the option to advance the ball to the 28-foot line in the front court following a timeout with under one minute left in the fourth period or overtime.

A survey released in April showed a positive response rate of more than 80 percent to most of the rules changes implemented in the 2015-16 season.

“We were very happy with the changes we made a year ago,” said committee chair Brad Duckworth, the director of athletics and women’s basketball coach at Alverno College. “We are pleased with the changes, and as we examined the game from a number of different levels, there really wasn’t a need to make changes this year. We’ll have a lot of things on the horizon that we are looking at to better the game. But overall, we feel the game is in a pretty good spot.”

One of the areas the committee discussed regarding possible future rules changes is permitting officials to use video review at any time in the game to determine if the ball left the shooter’s hand before the shot clock expired. This review would be allowable on made field goal attempts only.

In general, technology was part of the committee’s discussions. Members of both the Women’s and Men’s Basketball Rules Committees will form a joint subcommittee to study technology that could enter the game to help with health and well-being of the players, instant replay and coaching strategy.

Other areas the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee will continue to study and discuss include:

  • Widening of the lane from 12 feet to 16 feet.
  • Moving the restricted-area arc to 4 feet from 3 feet.
  • Moving the 3-point line from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international distance of 22-1.
  • Deterring players from faking fouls. A warning would be issued on the first offense, followed by a technical foul on subsequent offenses.
  • In free throw situations, teams would be allowed to substitute only before or after the foul shots are taken. There would be no substitutions allowed in between the two or three free throws.

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