How The 10-Second Backcourt Rule Could Impact Women’s Basketball

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Anne Donovan, Big East women's basketball, Connecticut Sun, Debbie Fiske, Geno Auriemma, Kelly Faris, NCAA, Rebecca Lobo, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

I reached out this afternoon to some of my go-to basketball brains to see what they thought of the possibility that the  NCAA would add the 10-second rule back to women’s basketball.

If you don’t know what that is, well, before a team could take all the time in the world to bring the ball across midcourt on offense during a possession.

Now, if the rule is enacted as the committee has proposed, an offense will have only 10 seconds to cross the stripe.

It may not sound like a big thing, but it can have a major impact on the already skewed power structure in the game.

Here’s what my experts had to say:

Debbie Fiske (radio analyst for UConn women’s basketball and former Huskies point guard)

“I like the idea of the 10-second backcourt call coming back into play.  Before, the advantage went to the offense.  Now the advantage slides back towards defense. In addition to speeding up the game it also presents new strategies for teams to employ. In games when teams are down or choose a pressing style defense to cause turnovers to fuel a run, the offense won’t have 90 feet and 30 seconds to break pressure, but will only have the back court and 10 seconds to get the ball over half court – more opportunity to cause more traps and turnovers in addition to getting a 10 second call as a turnover.  A team that may be very strong in the half court set, but not the best ball handling team under full court pressure will notice the difference in strategy.”

 Rebecca Lobo (ESPN analyst and former UConn All-American)

“The 10-second rule is LONG overdue. I am thrilled that it is under consideration. It can be quite frustrating watching a team use much of the shot clock in the backcourt.I think the 10-second rule will speed up the game and probably encourage more teams to press — both are good for the game.” 

 “The 10-second rule is very much needed in college womens basketball. I’ve never heard a player or coach  express negative feelings about it.”


Geno Auriemma (UConn women’s basketball coach and former Olympic coach)

“It certainly is long overdue and I’m glad the rules committee is going forward with this. Hopefully, we can keep looking at ways to make the game more interesting in the future.”

Jose Fernandez (Head coach South Florida women’s basketball)

“I am all for it and excited about it. It has been a long time coming. You look at the international game they play with an 8-second backcourt count an a 24-second shot clock. For our game to continue to grow, I think it’s a move in the right direction.”

Kelly Faris (Connecticut Sun rookie guard)

“It can cause a lot of turnovers if a team is determined to use the press. I know we tried [at UConn] to create our turnovers with steals, but if team now has the option of just holding the opponent back there, you are going to create even more turnovers. It’s going to make defense a little different, possibly a little more interesting because you won’t necessarily have to go for the steal. And it will give offenses just one more thing to overcome. Perhaps you can coax them into a long lob pass that can easily be stolen.

 “But you need to use the right defense with just the right amount of pressure and containment. If a team wants to use it to their advantage they definitely can. As for UConn next season, you can throw anything at [Auriemma] and he will do his best to figure out how to take advantage of it to benefit the team or his players.”


Anne Donovan (Connecticut Sun coach and former Seton Hall and Olympic coach)

I liked the fact that we didn’t have the rule when I was at Seton Hall, but we know the game is ready for it. The athletes and skill level doesn’t warrant the old rule. Nobody runs the clock down anymore, we play a high-paced game. It mirrors where we are as a game.

“For the teams that struggle against pressure, not having the 10-second rule helps a little to alleviate it. Any team that is good at pressure, that considers it the MoJo of their program, is really going to be motivated by the opportunity to go for broke. The full court press is going to have a field day and any team that struggles with ball control … it could be ugly.

“It would be ideal to trap, more zone press and more man-to-man full court trapping. With that mindset, which is how I would play it.”



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