Women’s college basketball will look a lot different next year, as the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a number of changes to the sport. The biggest change is a move to four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves. This necessitates a change to the foul rules:
Teams will now reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth team foul in each quarter. Previously, teams reached a one-and-one bonus on the seventh team foul of each half and reached the double bonus (two shots) on the 10th team foul.
In the four-quarter format, team fouls reset to zero at the start of each quarter. However, if a team reaches the bonus in the fourth quarter, that team would remain in the bonus during any additional overtime periods.
So no more one-and-one, thankfully.
The NCAA hopes that these changes will add excitement to the game. To that end, teams will be able to advance the ball to the frontcourt after a timeout in the final minute of the fourth quarter, or during overtime, which should increase the number of game-winning shot attempts. Additionally, bands or “amplified music” can now play during any dead-ball stoppage, not just timeouts.
Finally, in changes seemingly unrelated to the aesthetics of the game, post defenders will be allowed to place “a forearm or an open hand with a bend in the elbow” on the back of an opponent, and the 10-second backcourt rule has been changed in a way that will almost never actually come into play.
At its next meeting in a few weeks time, the panel will consider how to change the timeout and TV timeout rules to account for the move to quarters.