NCAA panel approves women's basketball rule changes

INDIANAPOLIS -- Women's college basketball teams will play four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves beginning next season.

The change became official Monday when the NCAA playing rules oversight panel approved a series of rule modifications that were recommended by the women's rules committee in May.

Under the new format, a team would receive a two-shot bonus after its opponent commits five team fouls in each quarter. The number of team fouls would carry over if a game goes into overtime.

Media timeouts in televised games would be limited to one per quarter and will take place at the first dead ball after the 5-minute mark. If a team calls a timeout before the 5-minute mark, it would count as the media stoppage. Teams also will be allowed to inbound the ball from the frontcourt if a timeout is called following a basket, a rebound or a change of possession in the final minute of the fourth quarter and all overtime periods.

Teams will not be subject to a 10-second count if the ball is deflected out of bounds by the defense, there is a held ball and the possession arrow favors the offensive team or a technical foul is called on the offensive team while the ball is in its backcourt.

Other changes include allowing defenders to use handchecks with a forearm or open hand with a bended elbow and allowing bands and amplified music to be used during all dead-ball situations instead of just timeouts and halftime.

The rules panel will consider some modified proposals for the women's game during its next meeting June 24. It also approved changes to the shot clock and the number of timeouts allowed for men's basketball.