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NCAA rule changes don’t spell change at NWC — yet

Trappers coach expects JUCO game to follow suit soon

The sport of women’s basketball is changing at the major college level beginning this fall. Trapper head coach Janis Beal figures the junior-college game won’t be far behind.

Starting with the upcoming academic year, NCAA-affiliated four-year colleges and universities will move the women’s 3-point line from its current position out to the same distance as the men’s 3-point line. Schools will also be allowed to experiment with enforcing a 10-second count in the back court in the women’s games.

The 10-second count, which again would mirror the 10-second time limit men’s teams currently have for getting the ball across midcourt on each possession, will only be used in exhibition games during the upcoming NCAA season. Neither rule change will be in effect when the Trappers take the court for the 2011-2012 basketball season.

“I don’t think it will take long for us (the NJCAA) to look at it,” said Beal, who expects both rule changes will quickly filter down to the junior college level. “It doesn’t make sense not to. For the kid looking to move on from junior college to a four-year school and continue their playing career, those are the rules they’re going to play by. They may as well start getting used to them right away.”

Beal noted she’s unaware of any immediate plans by the NJCAA to vote on adopting the changes. If and when they are incorporated into the junior college game, though, she said the introduction of the 10-second count in the women’s game would likely have the greater impact.

“At this point, you can dribble back there for 30 seconds if you want,” Beal said of the back court. “A change like that would definitely entice teams to press a whole lot more. I know we’d definitely look at pressing a little more if that change were made.”

Beal noted that even the psychological impact of such a change could affect the game.

“Any time you put a time limit on something, you create some pressure and you create an awareness,” Beal said. “You can hear it in the stands during men’s games when the count gets close to 10, because the fans are aware that you’ve only got a certain amount of time. Players know that. They sense it, so if you put a time pressure on it, they’ll be watching it a little more and might do some things they wouldn’t because they know they only have 10 seconds now.”

Beal also notes a change could impact the skill set coaches look for in recruits.

“Taking care of the ball and efficiency become more important,” Beal said. “Obviously, those are skills you want in players anyway, but you maybe value those qualities a little more if there’s a 10-second count added to the game.”

The University of Wyoming has announced it will experiment with the 10-second count during all of the Pokes’ 2011 exhibition games.

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