Women’s basketball has struggled to find mainstream success in the country. A perfect example of that is the WNBA, who held their finals series this past week and crowned their 2012 champion. Did you know the WNBA champion was crowned? Well, the Indiana Fever beat the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Finals three games to one.
So how can women’s basketball find mainstream success? UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma has an idea on how to solve the problem.
Lower the rims.
“What makes fans not want to watch women’s basketball is that some of the players can’t shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down,” Auriemma said.
“How do help improve that? Lower the rim (from 10 feet). Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women’s volleyball than men’s volleyball? It’s about seven inches shorter, so the women have the chance for the same kind of success at the net (as the men).”
Auriemma does have a point. Men are taller than women, on average, so the success rate for men with a ten foot rim is naturally greater. Lowering the rim would help open up opportunities for the women to showcase their skill.
“Let’s say the average men’s player is 6 foot 5 and the average woman is 5 foot 11,” Auriemma added. “Let’s lower the rim seven inches; let’s say 7.2 inches to honor Title IX (instituted in 1972). If you lower it, the average fan likely wouldn’t even notice it.
“Now there would be fewer missed layups because the players are actually at the rim (when they shoot). Shooting percentages go up. There would be more tip-ins.”
Auriemma may catch some heat for his comments but he is 100% correct. People are not paying attention to women’s basketball in it’s current state so something needs to be done. Lowering the rims could add some excitement to the game and generate buzz and added interest.
Just look at what Brittney Griner did for women’s basketball on the collegiate level because of her dunking ability. Lowering the rims would open up the opportunity for more women to throw it down which would get the sport the attention of media outlets like ESPN and their top 10 plays.
No progress is being made with the current formula so a change is necessary. It’s worth a shot.
“The system is not working and when something isn’t working, you should work to make changes,” said Auriemma. “If the changes don’t work, well at least you tried. It’s a lot better than just complaining about everything all the time.”