Cappie Votes In Favor of Rules Changes
By Ros Gold-Onwude
The WNBA announced new rules for the 2013 season last week with three changes stealing the show: the implementation of a defensive three-second rule, a flopping penalty and an extended three-point line. The defensive three-second rule will result in a technical foul if a defender is not “actively guarding” their player. The flopping rule will start with an initial warning and follow with increasing levels of fines. The three point line will move back from 20 feet, 6 ¼ inches to 22 feet, 1 ¾ inches, consistent with the three-point line distance used in international FIBA competition.
Guess what the first words were out of Liberty star Cappie Pondexter’s mouth when asked about the new rules? “I’m so happy!” exclaimed the crafty All-Star guard. “I think it’s great. It’s quicker, more one-on-one basketball. This will expand the game, especially because we do have so many athletic players. This gives them a chance to show what they can do. The change will create more excitement and help expand the women’s game because it will be quicker and more fast paced,” she said, a smile oozing out of her voice.
Some Liberty fans may even playfully call the new rules, “Cappie Rules”. For arguably the top one-on-one player in the WNBA, the extended three-point line gives Cappie more space to work with, the defensive 3-second rules allows the smaller shooting guard to avoid double and triple teams once she catches the ball as well as sagging defenses once she blows past her defender. The flopping rule enables her to attack the rim hard. Pondexter describes the moments she expects to see the biggest impact of the rules, “players are excited. Especially me. That is my game, one-on-one. It is going to be a game changer during those important moments, the ‘need a bucket’ moments. There will be less help. It’s much better”.
Pondexter did think there would be an adjustment period for everyone. “It’s going to take a while to get used to. I expect a lot of early three-second calls. Some coaches are going to have to change their entire coaching scheme. Think about how Indiana or Los Angeles plays defense. They may have to make adjustments,” she said.
The extended three-point line was not much of an area of concern for Pondexter. “The extended three point line is the same as the international line. Most of us play overseas, it shouldn’t be an adjustment at all”, she explained.
Pondexter continued to talk about the international impact on the WNBA, "overseas, there is a lot more flopping. It’s very popular; at times it seems the acting or exclamation over contact is a part of the international game. That may have translated over to the US. The flopping rule can tame that”.
Ultimately, Pondexter complimented the WNBA league officials, “I’m in favor of these changes. I believe they are helping the game improve. The league is watching, listening, and growing with its players. That is great news. Imagine, all the greats: Candace, Seimone, Catchings, Taurasi, Angel, Maya, myself, there are more I’m missing, but just imagine how this opens up the game for us. It’s going to be amazing”.