NCAA adds 10-second backcourt

Every point guard in women’s college basketball was working even harder on ball-handling drills in the offseason.

The 10-second backcourt rule is in effect.

“Not very much,” Colorado Mesa University senior point guard Christen Lopez said when asked how she was liking the new rule. “We’re getting used to it. I haven’t been through that since high school. Last year (coach Taylor Wagner) was like, ‘Just get it up the floor as safely as you can.’

“Now there’s added pressure. He’s like, ‘Take it up. If you have a lane, dribble it right up. You’ve got to get that ball across the court.’ There’s a little bit more pressure, but I think we’ll get used to it.”

High school girls basketball has the 10-second backcourt but no shot clock. Once a team clears midcourt, the offense can take as much time as needed to get off a shot.

In college, the women still will utilize a 30-second shot clock, so if a team uses the entire 10 seconds — and it must possess the ball in the front court before 10 seconds, not just be passing the ball over center court — it leaves only 20 seconds to run a play.

Wagner, in his second season at CMU, thinks it will increase the number of teams that will press full-court and trap in the backcourt.

“Obviously it’ll speed up the game, and there will probably be a little more scoring out of it,” he said. “I especially think you’ll see teams want to shoot it quicker, too. Hopefully it won’t affect us too much and we can take care of it and capitalize on it.”

In high school basketball, the trail official has a visible hand count. That’s not the case in college, where it’s all based off the shot clock. It’s the ballhandler’s responsibility to know how much time she has left.

The lead official under the offensive basket can call backcourt because he or she can see the opposite shot clock and the ball.

“As soon as I get the ball I have to look at the time, and I have to have that timer in my head,” Lopez said. “It helps with the bench talking to us, and it’s going to have to be something I look for myself.”

The rest of the Mavericks will have to work to get open, come back to the ball and make themselves available for Lopez, or whoever has the ball, to pass away from pressure.

“I can see them, but there’s six different hands when there’s three people on you,” said Lopez, who is only 5-foot-4. “You don’t know if you’re going to deflect it off one of them. I would be more comfortable if you’re within 10, 15 feet of me and I can make that pass.”

But, Wagner said, if the Mavericks can break the press, it will lead to easy scores.

“Usually if you can break that initial pressure up top, you’ll always have an advantage,” he said. “That’s the way we’ll look at it and see if we can’t take advantage of those teams that are pressuring up and get them out of it, too.”

He said the Mavericks will pick their times to press.

“We’ll probably add some stuff and see if we can’t catch some people by surprise,” Wagner said, “but it won’t be a constant thing.”


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