I wasn’t planning on continuing the discussion of college rules experiments this soon, but there’s been some breaking news. Unbeknownst to me, the WNBA altered its three point line this year from 19-9 to 20-6, mimicking the college rules experiment. (Also unbeknownst to me, the WNBA season is actually in progress.)
Kevin Pelton, who works for the Seattle NBA/WNBA franchises, has posted the data on what has transpired in the WNBA this season. Go ahead and read his piece on it, I’ll wait.
The WNBA data tends to support the trends we saw in the NCAA exempt games last year. Scoring has decreased along with the pace of play. There are some differences – most notably 3 point accuracy somehow has improved at the longer distance, while the number of attempts has decreased more than it did for the college men. Scoring hasn’t dropped as much as it did in the NCAA, but keep in mind that the WNBA isn’t using the international style lane.
The WNBA changes provide further confirmation that moving the line back does not lead to a better brand of basketball. I think we can also conclude that widening the lane has an additional contribution to slowing down the game. I wonder if the NCAA rules committee is paying attention.