Boise State Women's Basketball Update
Broncos Begin Preseason Practice
The Broncos are one week into practice as they prepare for the new campaign and its first in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State began practice on Oct. 3, taking advantage of a new rule that began last year which allows teams to start nearly two weeks earlier than previous years.
Many women's programs have started their preparations thanks to a NCAA rule that permits women's teams to begin practicing 40 days before their first game. This allows teams to spread their practices out over more days to give players more time off in a hope that it may decrease injuries. Teams are still practicing the same amount of days (30) but have to take 10 days off during the preseason training period. Teams can pick when to start whether they begin early or start at the traditional time which is roughly the middle of October around the 15th.
"We chose to start with the early date because we have been bitten so badly by injuries over the last couple years," said head coach Gordy Presnell. "We hope it will help keep us healthy heading into the season with more time off. Some teams are choosing to stay with the traditional start date to keep the season as short as possible."
The Broncos are practicing approximately two hours a day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday off. That schedule can be tweak as needed and will change as the team approaches the start of the season.
What's New This Year in Women's Basketball
There are two major rule changes this year for NCAA Division I women's basketball dealing with the three-point line and restricted area arc (charge arc).
The Three-Point Line Moved
The NCAA has decided to move the women's three-point line from last year's distance of 19' 9" to 20' 9" matching the men's line.
"I am good with the change of the three-point line," said Presnell. "Most of our team shoots from farther out than 19' 9" anyway. I hope it will help spread the floor out and force teams to come out and guard instead of packing it inside defensively, it could open up the post more. Basketball is about spacing and spreading the floor would help us."
The rationale behind the change was that the two lines last year caused confusion. Data collected last year indicated that a majority of women's three-point shots were being taken from behind the men's line and the shooting percentage of those shots was actually higher than those taken from behind the women's line only.
The Restricted Area Arc
The NCAA has added a restricted area arc three feet from the center of basket where a secondary defender cannot legally take a charge.
"I am not sure this is a good rule for the women's game," commented Presnell. "I not a big fan of the arc for us and it is not used in the WNBA. I understand the need for it in the men's game to help prevent injuries when guys go up for dunks and drive into the post with force. But not many women are in those situations. It will be interesting to see how the officials call it. It could greatly effect the game as players go in for layups, most defenders would traditionally stand in there for the charge but now they can't or it's a foul. What will happen when you stand in there for a rebound and there is a collision, will it be an automatic foul."
The idea of a restricted area arc has gathered momentum over the last few years in the men's game. The NCAA hopes to limit the number of collisions near the basket on charge/block plays that result in injuries. The intent is an increased student-athlete safety issue.
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