International 3-point line distance proposed in women’s basketball

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee on Friday proposed moving the 3-point line to the international distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches, beginning with the 2021-22 season.

All rule recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss women’s basketball proposals June 3.

The committee, which conducted a hybrid in-person/virtual meeting the past three days in Indianapolis, discussed the proposal thoroughly and looked at statistical trends that showed the number of attempted and successful 3-point field goal attempts reached all-time high levels in all three divisions during the 2020-21 season.

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In Division I, women’s teams attempted 16.4 3-point field goal attempts per game last season and made an average of 6.1 shots beyond the arc, which currently is set at 20 feet, 9 inches.

Division II statistics showed an average of 20.5 3-point field goals attempted per game, with 6.4 made on average during the 2020-21 season. The Division III statistics were 19.3 and 5.7, respectively.

“After continuing to study this issue for the past two years, examining data and statistics and seeking feedback from women’s basketball stakeholders, the committee felt the time was right to increase the distance of the 3-point line,” said Lynn Bria, rules committee chair and head coach at Stetson. “The committee agreed that this will assist in offensive spacing, address the increasing number of international players who are already shooting from this distance and create less confusion by having only one three-point line on the court. There was also strong support to move the line from the women’s basketball community, including coaches, conference commissioners, school administrators and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.”

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Technology rules

The committee proposed allowing the transmission of live statistics to the bench area for coaching purposes.

The committee also supported an experimental rule to allow teams to view live video in conference games only for the upcoming season should a waiver request be submitted.

Currently, women’s basketball teams already can view pre-loaded video on their bench during games.

If a conference chooses to use this experimental rule, it will be the league’s decision as to the type of appropriate technology that may be used.

Teams would not be allowed to view live video in non-conference games.

“We’ve experimented the last two years with allowing live stats transmitted to the bench,” Bria said. “After receiving data and feedback from conferences that experimented with bench technology, the committee felt there was significant support with moving forward with this proposed rule change.”

Point of emphasis

The committee held discussions regarding players who fake being fouled. The committee is concerned that these tactics are being taught, and officials will be instructed to carefully monitor these situations.

Examples of what officials will watch for include players involved in block/charge plays, players falling to the court despite not being contacted during or after field goal attempts, dribblers who bob their heads to simulate being contacted and players who act like they were the recipient of contact despite not being touched.

Instant replay and coaches challenges

The committee approved two adjustments to the replay rules in effect during the last two minutes of the game and added a third replay situation.

Officials may now use instant replay on an out-of-bounds play regardless of the number of players involved. Previously, a review was permitted only when there was a deflection involving two players.

Coaches may now challenge two additional plays that would require officials to use instant replay to review them. The first involves the result of a restricted area/lower defensive box play.

Currently, officials may use replay in the last two minutes of the game to determine the location of the players involved in the play. Now, at any time during the game, a coach may ask officials to review the play.

The new replay situation permits officials to use replay to determine whether a basket should count or not when a foul is not committed on or by a player with the ball. This play may be challenged at any time during the game by the coach, but officials may use replay on their own only in the last two minutes of the game.

If the review does not change the call, the team will lose a timeout.