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Nov. 1, 2013

This offseason, the NCAA announced several rule changes for the 2013-14 women’s basketball season. With the Virginia women’s basketball season about to get underway at John Paul Jones Arena, media relations student assistant Mary Topp offers this piece about changes that fans need to know about before the Cavaliers’ home opener on Monday, Nov. 11 when they host High Point at 7 p.m.

One of the most significant changes is seen in the new 10-second backcourt violation. For the first time in college women’s basketball, teams will be penalized if the ball does not gain front court status within the first 10 seconds of possession, mirroring the rule that exists in the men’s game. The 10 seconds begin after jump balls, throw-ins and rebounds and will be determined by officials using the shot clock. The NCAA reasons this new rule will add excitement to the game and give teams an opportunity for new strategies.

Assistant coach Cory McNeill and the rest of the coaching staff are excited about the opportunities afforded by the 10-second rule.

“As soon as we heard about the new rule, Coach Boyle was talking about packages she wanted to put in to put some more pressure on the ball,” McNeill said. “I can see us mixing it up and trying to turn up the tempo of the game.”

Senior guard Ataira Franklin shared McNeill’s enthusiasm over the rule change.

“I think that specifically for us, it is going to put as at an advantage, just because we are a smaller-sized team,” Franklin said. “We are looking to be scrappy and really be aggressive, really try to push tempo with our presses to force those violations.”

Sophomore guard Faith Randolph echoed those sentiments.

“It is really going to help us because we want to pressure a lot,” Randolph said. “We are just going to create chaos and try to get the ball.”

Other rule changes include a tweak to the “elbow foul” rule. It will no longer be an automatic Flagrant 1 for illegal contact with an elbow above the shoulders of an opponent. Officials will determine whether this kind of contact is a common foul, a Flagrant 1 or 2 foul or a contact dead ball technical foul. The Rules Committee recognized that officials should have the option of calling a common foul when the illegal contact is not excessive, so they made the change to the rule.

There are also changes to the media time out rules with a called timeout that happens within 30 seconds of a scheduled media time out turning into a media time out.

The refs this season have several contact-related points-of-emphasis which, according to the Women’s College Basketball Officiating Board of Managers, will prioritize controlling the physicality of the game by protecting the shooter and the ball handler, allowing freedom of movement and cleaning up post play. Any touch made by a defender on the ball handler after the allowed `measure-up touch’ will be called as a foul. The emphasis on “freedom of movement” will enable the ball handler, dribbler, cutter, rebounder and shooter to be able to move without being illegally impeded, re-routed or displaced.

The 2013-2014 season is fast approaching and ushers in exciting and helpful changes for college women’s basketball. Keep these in mind when following the Cavaliers on the court this year!

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