NCAA looks at moving back women’s 3-point line

by Andrew Baker

The days of the two narrowly-spaced 3-point stripes at Williams Arena and other college basketball venues across the country could be coming to an end. The NCAA confirmed it may consider extending the womenâÄôs 3-point line when its womenâÄôs basketball rules committee meets in May. At that meeting, the committee will discuss data collected this year on playersâÄô shooting percentages from behind the menâÄôs and womenâÄôs lines, according to NCAA spokesman Cameron Schuh. The NCAA asked coaches to record shooting percentages from behind the menâÄôs and womenâÄôs lines in one exhibition game this year. âÄúThe rules committee and the coaches were discussing last year how theyâÄôve noticed that the women were shooting from behind the menâÄôs 3-point line at times,âÄù Schuh wrote in an e-mail. âÄúThere were a few games here and there were [sic] some schools tracked on the shooting percentages from behind both lines. The results showed the shooting percentages were not that different between the two lines.âÄù Schuh said there are no immediate plans to move the line back, but conceded it could be a possibility in the future. The decision to look into 3-point shooting percentages came from coachesâÄô feedback. âÄúI think [coaches] probably wanted to see the data first,âÄù UConn womenâÄôs basketball spokesman Patrick McKenna said, âÄúbut I think itâÄôs a lot like the menâÄôs game where they wouldnâÄôt mind seeing it moved back a little bit.âÄù In 2008-09, the NCAA moved the menâÄôs line back a full foot, to 20 feet, 9 inches, just short of the international line. At that time the womenâÄôs rules committee opted to keep the womenâÄôs line at 19 feet, 9 inches, which is the same as the WNBAâÄôs stripe. In a 2007 article by ESPNâÄôs Andy Katz, Syracuse menâÄôs head coach Jim Boeheim and Florida coach Billy Donovan reacted favorably to the extension of the menâÄôs line, though both said that if the 3-point line was going to be extended, the free-throw lane should be widened as well. In the same article, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said he was against extending the line, and that he was skeptical of the idea that an extended 3-point line would open up space in the lane, saying, âÄúif it isnâÄôt broke, donâÄôt fix it.âÄù Gophers womenâÄôs basketball spokesman Michael Molde said he hasnâÄôt heard much talk about extending the line, but that a memo from the NCAA indicated about 60 percent of 3-pointers last year were attempted from beyond the menâÄôs line. âÄúI think the NCAA is always thinking about ways that they can make the game better âĦ but theyâÄôre probably contemplating all sorts of other rule changes,âÄù Molde said.