University of Tennessee at Chattanooga point guards Alex Black and Alicia Payne seldom dawdled in the backcourt last season. The Lady Mocs preferred to push the pace a bit even though there was no 10-second violation.
Now UTC's ball-handlers and everyone else in Division I women's basketball will have to pick up the pace -- and likely work their way through more full-court defense -- in the wake of a rule approved Monday.
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel voted to approve the implementation of a 10-second backcourt rule for women's basketball, starting this season.
The goal is to speed up the game and increase scoring opportunities. New Lady Mocs coach Jim Foster said he doesn't expect a huge impact from the change.
"I'm sure some things will be a little different, and it will put more stress on the referees, but I think our game, with the 30-second clock, has always been fast-paced," Foster said.
While this particular change may not radically alter Division I women's basketball, Foster said the game needed a bump.
"I think there needs to be a change in our game, or maybe a variety of them," the Hall of Famer said. "Unless you start to experiment with some of these things, everything remains status quo -- and status quo hasn't been good enough."
According to a 50-page NCAA report on women's basketball released this month -- compiled by former WNBA commissioner Val Ackerman, who was named the new commissioner of the Big East on Wednesday -- 205 of 343 Division I schools averaged fewer than 1,000 fans for women's games last season. And Tennessee was the only program to average more than 10,000.
UTC averaged 2,550 at McKenzie Arena, nearly 2,000 more per game than the second-highest Southern Conference average (Georgia Southern, 553).
The report also stated that Division I teams shot 38.9 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from 3-point range -- both all-time lows.
Black, one of six seniors on next season's UTC roster, said the 10-second rule likely will change how a lot of teams play defense.
"I do think maybe they might want to start pressing more and try to make that 10-second turnover call," she said. "But I think that will take a little bit more time than the first year. ... I don't know if [the rule change] was necessarily needed, but maybe it will make the tempo of the game pick up, which can't hurt."
The NCAA also voted to add a "lower-defensive box" that will restrict the area near the basket where a defender can draw a charge. In addition, in an effort to avoid consecutive timeouts, a team timeout called within 30 seconds of a media timeout will become the media timeout, except for the first one of the second half.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...
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