Women’s college basketball adjusts to new rule changes

 

Niki Reid Geckeler
Niki Reid Geckeler

Women’s college basketball games this season are played in quarters. The length of games haven’t changed, but now contests are four 10-minute quarters, which is similar to WNBA and international rules rather than two 20-minute halves.

Proponents of the changes predicted that fans would see more scoring. Thus far, based on the latest NCAA stats, the nation’s top 10 scoring offenses this season are averaging at least 84 points a game, led by Maryland at 89 points a game.

Minnesota (6-3) is scoring almost 80 points while giving up 71 points per game this season.

“I definitely think it is working,” declared Towson Coach Niki Reid Geckeler who talked to the MSR after her club scored 86 points, but gave up 105 at Minnesota December 6. “You look across the country at the scoreboard every night and you see where it is affecting the offensive side of the ball. I think that is a good thing.

“I like the transition from the high school level, to the college level and to the pro. When you see that continuity in the women’s game, I think that is a good step forward,” continues Reid Geckeler. She is in her third season at Towson, whose suburban-based campus is located about eight miles north of downtown Baltimore, and is Maryland’s second largest university. Reid Geckeler was Howard’s head coach (2008-13), where she led the Bisons to consecutive 20-plus win seasons and three post-season appearances. She also held assistant coaching positions at Georgetown (1996-2002; 2004-08) and assistant and associate head coach at Fordham (1995-96; 2002-04).

The 2015-16 Tigers sans a player is all-Black. Minnesota was one of five straight clubs Towson faced this season for the first time in school history.

When asked if other Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) teams are as diverse as her squad —  it’s rare to see all-Black women teams at the Barn, “I think a lot of teams in our conference are diverse. I don’t see that as being that much of an issue,” responded Reid Geckeler.

Towson’s non-conference schedule featured the Gophers, Auburn and Georgetown before conference play begins in January.

“We’re a young squad and a new staff,” admits the coach of the 2015-16 squad that features six newcomers and two first-year assistants, led by 5-6 senior guard Dominique Johnson, who scored a school-record 35 points in 37 minutes against Minnesota.

“I am very proud of her.  She is being asked to lead a very, young inexperienced team,” says Reid Geckeler on Johnson. “I think each game for us, leading into the CAA season, is a lesson for us.  We are learning from these lessons,” surmises the coach.

MORE RULES CHANGES

The WNBA earlier this month announced two rules changes for the 2016 season.

One, the 24-second shot clock will reset to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound or the offensive team keeps the ball after it hits the rim.

Two, the last two minutes of the game now is the “timing guideline” for several rules, such as the option to advance the ball after a timeout; one free throw and the possession for an away-from-the-play foul (commonly known in the NBA as ‘Hack-a-Shaq’) and mandatory instant replay reviews of a made two-pointer or three-pointer when the clock stops in the last two minutes of the fourth period or last two minutes of overtime.

Both rule changes were recommended by the league’s Competition Committee’s Dec. 2 meeting.

GLOBETRACKING THE LYNX 

Sylvia Fowles recently posted a double-double (29 points, 16 rebounds) in a recent win for Beijing.  Her other Lynx teammates also recorded solid performances for the respective overseas club:  Devereaux Peters (20 points, 9 rebounds), Anna Cruz (13 points, five assists), Seimone Augustus (10 points, four rebounds) and Renee Montgomery (5 points, 5 rebounds and two assists).

FINALLY

Gopher senior guard Rachel Banham is sixth in the nation in scoring just under 24 points a game.  The team’s final two non-conference games are at home:  Dec. 23 vs. North Dakota and vs. NJIT Dec. 28.  They open Big Ten play at Rutgers Dec. 31.

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.