Lower baskets discussed at summit
KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic -- Lower baskets, new uniforms and a new start date for the world championship were just a few ideas discussed at the first women's basketball summit.
More than 50 countries attended the conference, ranging from basketball powerhouses Australia and the United States to newer federations like Iran.
"There were a lot of topics covered," said USA Basketball past president Val Ackerman, who helped spearhead the conference. "There was talk about lowering the rims. The notion is that no one in women's basketball has experimented in a serious way. It's something that might enhance the game, leading to dunking, fewer missed shots."
While lowering the baskets a few inches would be considered a radical idea, it's something that the members were willing to discuss. Such a monumental change in the game is still many years away from potentially being implemented.
"One of the conclusions was that we need to change the rules if we want to make the game a bit more attractive," said FIBA Secretary General and IOC member Patrick Baumann. "We have the smaller ball and now it's time to lower the rim. It will be tested."
If that were to happen, the change won't take place immediately.
"It's going to take a while," Baumann said. "If you want to see how it impacts the game, you have to figure it out over a period of time -- you have to figure out the size [height], then try it in individual games, and then you have to try it over a prolonged period. Then we need to find a national federation that would be willing to test it."
Another major issue that was discussed was trying to find a better time for worlds. Baumann said it was short-changing the women's game to have their championship take place so soon after the men. The thought was to potentially move it to January or May, or even to a different year.
"Everyone agreed that harmonizing the calendar would be a good thing," said WNBA commissioner Donna Orender, who also attended the conference. "I don't think there's any consensus yet. At this date it's not best for our USA basketball program or the WNBA so any consideration of moving it to another time that would help elevate this we'd be in favor of."
The next women's basketball conference is tentatively planned for 2012.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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