WNBA Announces Rule Changes for 2007 Season

-- Backcourt and Timeout Rules Improved --
-- Playoff Rosters Expanded --

NEW YORK, January 30, 2007 – The Women’s National Basketball Association has approved several rule changes for the 2007 season. The changes include reducing the 10-second backcourt rule to eight seconds, permitting head coaches (in addition to players) to call timeouts and designating 11 active and up to two inactive players on playoff rosters. The modifications, which were recommended by the WNBA Competition Committee, were approved by the WNBA Board of Governors earlier today.

“The backcourt rule change coincides with some positive modifications we made to our game last season,” said WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Renee Brown. “The adjustment to an eight-second backcourt rule continues the trend of speeding up the game and increasing the number of possessions. This leads to higher scoring games, which we saw last year when we implemented the 24-second shot clock and the four-quarter format. Teams across the league posted scoring increases, and fans enjoyed the up-tempo style of the game.”

The highlights of the rule change for 2007 are as follows:

- The backcourt rule will require offensive teams to bring the ball across the midcourt line within eight seconds rather than 10 seconds.

- The timeout rule will require officials to grant requests for a timeout (full or twenty-second) by a player in the game or the head coach. Previously, only players in the game were allowed to call timeouts.

- Teams will now designate 11 active players and up to two inactive players on playoff rosters, with the ability to activate any inactive players on a game-by-game basis. This is the same process as is employed during the regular season.

- Two free throw attempts and possession of the ball shall be awarded on the sideline nearest the spot where play was interrupted if an offensive player, or a teammate, is fouled while having a clear-path-to-the-basket. In previous seasons, the penalty for clear-path-to-the-basket fouls was one free throw and possession of the ball.

About the WNBA
The WNBA will tip off the 2007 season on May 19th as the defending champion Detroit Shock hosts the Sacramento Monarchs in a rematch of last year’s WNBA Finals. The WNBA All-Star Game will be played at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on July 15 at 3:30 p.m.

In 2006, the WNBA concluded its historic tenth season with an action-packed WNBA Playoffs. The 2006 WNBA Finals presented by Vonage capped a playoff run in which the WNBA saw significant increases in attendance and viewership. The Finals, which aired live on ESPN2, saw the Detroit Shock top the Sacramento Monarchs in the first WNBA Finals match up ever to go to a fifth and deciding game.

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