NCAA Women’s Basketball Secretary-Rules Editor Debbie Williamson has led officiating clinics across the country over the past month to reinforce the new plan to the referees. Major points of emphasis that will be enforced to improve freedom of movement are:
— A defender can no longer keep a constant hand or forearm on the opponent.
— A defender can’t use an arm-bar to impede an opponent’s progress.
— A defender can’t place two hands on the opponent.
Consistency was the key word being discussed at the clinics. Clinicians were stressing how the calls couldn’t just be made in November and December but also had to be made in conference play and in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s what the coaches want and what the game needs,” Williamson said at the Philadelphia clinic. “The only thing that can be really bad is if you start blowing whistles early on and stop in the new year. Or you blow them in the northeast and not the southeast. It has to be consistent.”
The NCAA also adopted a few new rules for this season to try and help the pace of the game, including adding a 10-second backcourt rule to the women’s game. The rule requires the offensive team to move the ball past midcourt within 10 seconds. Failure to do so results in a turnover. Under current rules, teams can take as much time off the 30-second shot clock as they want before crossing midcourt.