NCAA changes women’s basketball rules

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The basket is still 10 feet off the ground, the free throw line is still 15 feet from the basket and the baselines are still 94 feet apart.

But several other rules are changing for NCAA women’s basketball.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Committee overhauled the guidelines for women’s basketball which will go into effect this season. The most notable difference is the shift in format from two 20-minute halves to four 10-minute quarters.


“We’re going to see how the four-quarter thing goes,” said junior point guard Rishonda Napier. “It takes me back to my high school days. I don’t mind it.”

Team fouls will now reset at the end of each quarter. Teams will reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth foul of every quarter. The new rules eliminate the one-and-one single bonus free throw.

The Salukis shot 461 free throws last year, and sent opponents to the line for 459 foul shots.

SIU coach Cindy Stein said the new format will allow teams with more viable bench players to take more chances than others. 

“If only eight players are doing the things you want, it’s hard to play that aggressive,” Stein said. “If we can get to that ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th player, we’ll be a lot more aggressive.”

Stein said she does not know at this point in the preseason if the Salukis have the depth to increase their aggressiveness.

Last year, Stein relied heavily on starters. The starting five — guards Cartaesha Macklin and Napier, center Dyana Pierre and forwards Azia Washington and Kylie Giebelhausen — all played more than 800 minutes. Guard Mercedes Griffin, a senior last season, logged 625 minutes of playing time. The next-highest total belonged to current senior guard Blair Stephenson, with 270.

A post defender is also now allowed to place a hand or forearm on the back of the player with the ball.

Pierre said she is excited about this rule change. 

If a timeout is called after a made basket with 59.9 or fewer seconds remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter or overtime, the ball will automatically be advanced to the frontcourt.

“I like that,” Stein said. “It’s more like the pros. We have not practiced it yet. We want to learn the play first.”

However, not everyone on the team is as excited about the new rules.

“I’m obviously not a fan because it’s my last season, and now they want to change things,” said senior forward Azia Washington. “But it’s not all about me. It’s still basketball. We still play for 40 minutes. We’re just taking it and rolling with it.”

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311