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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Landmark day leads to wide-ranging recommendations for women's basketball

With some of the highest profile names in the sport at NCAA headquarters for a women's basketball summit, several changes were recommended.

Leading the way was a shift of playing the Final Four the week after the men's Final Four is over and move from a Sunday/Tuesday format to having the semifinals on Friday and title game on a Sunday.

Also, the top 16 seeds will serve as subregional hosts while there will be a shift from the current four regional site format to two super regional sites.

There is also the hope that sites will be utilized on a multiple year basis. What that could mean is that the same site will host the super regionals in back to back years and then it could serve as the host of the Final Four.

Also, in 2016 there is a recommendation that the Division I, II and III Final Fours all get held at the same time in Indianapolis. Currently the plan is to have that be a one-year deal but that could change based on a feedback from how the event works out.

It should be noted that these are just recommendations and need to be passed in an official vote which comes up in October.

While many of the recommendations had to do with the postseason format and the attempt to break away from shadow cast by the highly-successful men's tournament, there was a move to make the women's game less physical and more free flowing. That part of the recommendation might be the one that I am most interested in seeing how it is implemented.. NCAA Vice President Anusha Browne said that the process of identifying points of emphasis for officials to clean up the game has already begun. It sounds like more handchecking and away from the ball contact will be called moving forward in an attempt to have a more up and down style of play.

Browne said no changes will be made in the format for the 2014 tournament. If the recommendations are passed then it will be up to organizers in Tampa, the site of the 2015 women's Division I Final Four, to see if they can be implemented in time for that event.

Basically the main points that came out of the White Paper, a report written by former WNBA President Val Ackerman were agreed upon by those in attendance which included UConn Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma, former Women's Sports Foundation President and Brakettes softball Hall of Famer Donna Lopiano, former UConn point guard and current Hartford head coach Jen Rizzotti, American Athletic Conference associate commissioner Danielle Donehew, ESPN's Carol Stiff and other prominent coaches and administrators.


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