Women's college basketball is starting the year with new rules. They've changed the game structure from two 20 minute halves to four 10-minute quarters. According to the NCAA, this was done to improve the "flow of the game". They've also changed the rules dealing with the 10-second backcourt clock, advancing the ball, defense in the low post, in-game music, and a few more.
The big one is the ‘halves to quarters'. The idea, as stated, is to make the game "flow" better. There is an implicit idea underpinning that statement, which is that by changing the way the game is structured, the game will become more exciting. Exciting always and forever means more high scoring. They made this specific change to increase offensive production.
And, to my shock, it's worked like a charm.
I took the top ten offenses from last season and the top ten offenses from this season, and averaged them together. It showed that scoring numbers were up by almost full five points through this early part of the season.
It's obviously early to call this a permanent change, but it's definitely a positive one. Personally, I can't think of a reason why this would've affected scoring, and I've detailed why below:
"The most effective way to increase offense is to shorten the amount of time a team has to shoot the ball. The more possessions teams have, the more likely they are to score more points. Theoretically, anyways. Changing the halves into quarters does nothing to create more possessions.
"The only thing that might increase offensive production from this change is that the players might be more rested because they aren't playing for 20 straight minutes like before. It also gives more ad time! Hooray for more ad time!"
I was down on all of the rule changes (at least in terms of freeing up the offense), but there was one I was happy about:
"One rule change that will add excitement to the game? Being able to automatically advance the ball out of the backcourt with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.
Sure, it's a little unfair to the defense; they're not given the chance to disrupt things as they would've been previously, but it'll also stop the clunkers that come when someone gets stuck in the backcourt or takes too much time to really have a shot at an effective final possession. This way, there is some sort of final play called, which increases the energy of the game in that last minute."
I'm glad that I was wrong about this. I am pleased that this actually has opened up offensive production. Women's basketball is not as popular or appreciated as men's basketball, and that's not really fair, and one thing that tends to bring fans to games/watch the games on television is more points being scored and players running up and down the court.
There is still a lot that could be done, like shortening the shot clock (something that I want men's college basketball to do as well), but it's encouraging that these changes that they have implemented, because it speaks to a broader competency, and that the game is in good hands.