The three-point line moved from 19' 9" to 20' 9". The rationale was that on floors with the two lines, it was confusing, so since a majority of the shots were being taken behind the men's line already, the women's line moved back to the same 20' 9" mark. Luckily for Memphis, after spending the 10 additional days of practice before the Italy trip working on the international three-point line, the Tigers should be well-accustomed to the longer distance.
2) Addition of a restricted area
If you watch NBA ball (or did before they were locked out), you're already familiar with a restricted circle (charge circle). The college women's line is three feet from the basket. A secondary defender is not permitted to establish a guarding position within the circle once the ball handler has control of the ball or has released the ball for a pass or shot attempt (ie rotating players have to get their heels outside the circle to avoid the blocking call).
3) Changing intentional foul calls to Flagrant 1 foul calls
There are now Flagrant 1 and Flagrant 2 fouls in women's basketball. A foul involving elbow contact above the shoulders and all fouls currently called intentional fouls are now going to be called Flagrant 1 fouls; what we currently called Flagrant fouls are now going to be Flagrant 2 fouls. A Flagrant 2 foul carries a penalty of ejection of the offender, two free throws and the ball to the offended team.
4) Media timeouts for all games
It used to be if there was not commercial media, you would have a different number of timeouts. Now all games will use the electronic-media timeout, which is timeout at the first dead ball UNDER 16 minutes, 12 minutes, 8 minutes and 4 minutes. All of our games were media timeout games, so Tiger fans won't notice a difference, but some schools who haven't had media in the past will have to make a change.
5) Free throw positions
Players can now occupy any legal vacant lane space designated for opponents when the opponent is not in that space (excluding the bottom two spaces).
6) Double fouls
It used to be that off-setting fouls did not result in a free throw attempt -- no more. When there is a double foul and one is a more serious Flagrant 1 or 2 foul (as opposed to a 'common' foul), the ball will now go to the team offended by the Flagrant 1 or 2 foul. Any two fouls that are the same type will continue to offset. The intent was to punish the more severe foul instead of just letting them offset.
And some general housekeeping changes, teams have to have their line-ups in to the official scorer before the 10-minute mark before the game, or an administrative technical foul will be administered. You'll also notice officials come up and take control of the floor 15 minutes prior to the game and one official with stay up on the floor rather than come up, check in, and go back to the locker room. And before the second half begins, any changes in the starters needs to be reported before the horn that signals the end of the half. When there is no reported change in the lineups before the horn sounds, the five players from the previous period will begin the next period (second half, overtime, etc.).
There is also a point of emphasis that the Tigers will have to watch out for and that's the emphasis on being ready to play on the second horn in timeouts. If a team isn't ready to go when the second horn sounds, they first get a warning, then the ball is put down by the official and he/she will begin their count (the committee felt too many teams were not ready to play at the second horn, so they are trying to speed up the game).
Another official's duty change you'll see is that officials are now to visibly count seconds while administering free-throws. Officials used to do this. A shooter has 10 seconds once the ball is in hand to attempt the free throw, you'll see officials counting that off now.
The final change (I did mention there were a few, right?) is that if a coach requests the officials to go to a monitor to review a possible elbow infraction (swinging elbows) and no such foul is found, a timeout will be charged to that coach. The committee felt that since the time to review the monitors was already being used as a timeout, they would prevent coaches from asking officials to look at the monitor and subsequently using it as a "free" timeout if no violation was found. If the coach asks them to look now and there isn't a violation, that coach will not lose a timeout for it.
So, there's a few of the changes you will notice -- believe it or not, there are more, like uniform and sock logos, patch sizes, etc., but that's pretty mundane stuff that I won't bore you with.
We will still be at Memphis Madness on Friday, October 14th, just know that we'll be a few days in to practice then (unlike the men). Our first game will be an exhibition game against Arkansas-Monticello on Sunday, November 6th in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Our first regular season game will be against Saint Louis on Friday, November 11th at 5 p.m. at FedExForum in a doubleheader with the Tiger men's exhibition game against CBU.
If you want to keep up with the Tigers, don't forget our Facebook and Twitter accounts! I'm better about updating those than always finding time to code these blog entries for some reason. I'll see if I can't tackle one of the girls to write a blog for you all before we start practice next week though. Who should I ask first?