Commentary: Women’s basketball rule change


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There is no 10- or eight-second backcourt violation in women’s college basketball.

Watching Thursday night’s game between Iowa and Minnesota, it was painfully obvious a rule change needs to happen.

Teams that like to use full-court press and full-court trap defenses, such as Minnesota, are the biggest victims of this rule’s absence. Facing a 50-28 deficit at halftime, the Golden Gophers had no choice but to ramp up their use of pressure defense in the second half.

But with such players as Kamille Wahlin, Kachine Alexander, and Jaime Printy, Iowa has plenty of capable guards. Combine that with essentially 30 seconds — the length of the shot clock — to dribble around as long as you want, and a full-court press is about as effective as Devan Bawinkel inside the 3-point arc.

The story was no different last night.

Iowa had zero problems thwarting Minnesota’s pressure, and the Gopher’s comeback hopes, as farfetched as they seemed, were swiftly dashed.

But I’m OK with that. Iowa was a much better team on Thursday night.

That doesn’t mean a rule change isn’t in order, though.

If players are working hard enough and creating havoc for opposing offenses, why should a team that is unable to execute simple press-break offense catch a break? It just doesn’t make sense.

A rule change would also bring more excitement to women’s college basketball. The “run and gun” style of play, currently in effect at men’s programs, such as Tennessee and Louisville, allows teams to dictate game tempo.

Not only that, but it makes things pretty exhilarating.

The 10-second rule forces the game to be played from end-to-end. It’s a beautiful thing.

It’s the way basketball was meant to be played.

After all, there’s a reason half-court basketball only takes place in lame pickup games: There aren’t enough players or (usually) the players are just too lazy.

Half-court basketball has no business being played at a high level. The NCAA should take note and once again re-examine the idea.

Honestly, it’s a slap in the face of women’s basketball players. Is it impossible to think a team of Division-I women’s basketball players are not athletic or skilled enough to break a press in 10 seconds or fewer?

Tell that to Alexander.

It’s something I can’t wrap my head around. What exactly does not having a 10-second count accomplish?

Two things: It punishes active, aggressive defense, and it also makes the game boring.

If that’s what the NCAA is going for — and, knowing the NCAA, that’s not too unlikely — great work.

If not, please consider changing this rule.

Not only will it reward teams for playing basketball the right way, it will further increase the excitement and popularity of women’s basketball.

It’s long overdue.

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