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New Rules for Women's Basketball, Including Four 10-Minute Quarters

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The 30-second shot clock change in for the men seems like no big deal now.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to the changes made to the men's league, the women will see a few changes as well; most notably, moving away from 2-20 minute halves and instead having four 10-minute quarters. It will also impact on team fouls too:

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.

Well, that's interesting...but given how I get most of my basketball knowledge from college (and not high school or NBA, where both use 4 quarter systems), perhaps this is widely used.

Timeout changes will be proposed later this month, which would allow for one media timeout at or below the 5-minute mark each quarter, which would include a team timeout. Media timeouts would also occur after the 1st and 3rd quarters.

I have a feeling the first couple of games, maybe even the first season, are going to be ugly adjusting to this rule. I personally like two 20-minute halves, but we'll see how this goes. If it goes well (i.e. UConn, ND, Tennessee, etc., keep winning and are happy because they dominate Women's BBall since it's so top heavy), then I wouldn't be surprised if the men adopt this rule in a few seasons.

Here are some other rule changes:

10-second back court exceptions:

For the upcoming season, a team will not be subject to the 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.

I liked that the women adopted the 10-second rule a few seasons ago, but these exceptions will be interesting...

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.

This seems to be similar to the NBA (note: I've seen around 10 NBA games on TV my whole life, and that is probably an over estimate). I felt like this rule makes the offense more lazy, and usually the teams get the ball up to the front court pretty quickly anyways since the defense is already set to defend the shots in the front court.

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.

Defense isn't quite dead...yet.

Band 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.

Good news, GABS! (That's the pep band at women's game (Gold & Black Sound), for those who do not know.)

To see the full list of rule changes, please see the press release by the NCAA.