IUWBB: Moren ponders effect of new rules for late-game sideline out-of-bounds plays

The most noticeable change to NCAA women’s basketball this season might be the move from halves to four quarters, but that isn’t the rule change that really caught the eye of Indiana women’s basketball coach Teri Moren.

What the Hoosiers’ defensively focused coach is most anxious to see play out is a rule that will allow teams to advance the ball to three-quarters court under a minute to play or in overtime. While it will surely create for some exciting last-second shot opportunities for teams following a timeout, teams will no longer have to get the ball past midcourt against pressure defenses.

Moren, in particular, likes to pressure the ball in those situations.

“I understand it’s going to be exciting,” Moren said Monday. “WNBA, you see it and think ‘This is going to be cool,’ but from a strategic standpoint, defensively, I want to be able to pressure the ball and I want to put pressure on their guards to have to bring it all the way up the floor and make a play.”

This rule change will also mean a renewed emphasis on sideline out-of-bounds plays in practice. Moren imagines that time will probably have to be set aside in practice to rehearse late-game situations and inbounding the ball.

But none of this is to say that Moren has made up her mind as to whether she likes or dislikes the changes.

“We’ll see. I could like it,” Moren said. “I might.”

When the rule changes were passed by an NCAA committee – spearheaded, in part, by Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma – Moren said the prevailing question among Big Ten coaches was “Why?”

As far as quarters go, Moren doesn’t anticipate much of an effect, because in-game timeouts already tend to drag out for such a long time that it mimics quarter breaks. What the quarters could provide, Moren speculated, was more opportunities for fan-engaging promotions between periods, such as on-court activities or more content on the video board at Assembly Hall.

One change that is coming to the men’s game next season and not the women’s game is a reduction in the shot clock. Men’s basketball will match the women’s game with a 30-second clock, down from 35 seconds last season.

Moren seemed content with keeping the shot clock for women’s basketball where it is, rather than reducing it down to the WNBA’s 24-second clock.

“I don’t see us going to 24, because I think we are too turnover prone,” Moren said. “I’d love to play that way. I know Coach Crean – shoot — he’d probably like 15, because he wants to play superfast, but I don’t see us moving it to 24 any time soon because of that.”