Everyone who has ever picked up a men’s basketball and women’s basketball knows that they are a different size. It’s obvious after just a few dribbles, and certainly after one shot.
And, it makes sense. On average, the hands of women are smaller than the hands of men. The slightly smaller ball. approximately 28.5 inches in circumference, compared to 29.5 inches for a men’s basketball, makes shooting percentages in the two games very similar at the highest levels.
But, on Thursday it was revealed that for the first half of Sunday’s game involving Duke and Florida State, the wrong basketball was being used.
Kara Lawson says that Duke played the entire first half of Sunday’s game at Florida State with a men’s ball.
“I wanted to appeal and protest the game, but the conference would not allow me to do that… This would never happen in a men’s game… It’s a complete failure.” #ncaaW
— Mitchell Northam (@primetimeMitch) February 3, 2023
Here’s more details, courtesy of ESPN.
Lawson said that throughout the first half, Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils were 7-for-34 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of that game. They were 12-for-38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.
“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”
Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at the half to check on the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the game officials changed the ball to start the second half.
“We have concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” Lawson said. “The conference and Florida State is saying that it wasn’t.”
That is an inexcusable mistake. Frankly, I don’t see how a game where the fundamental piece of equipment was not correctly used for an entire half is a valid contest.
Hopefully the ACC comes to their senses and plays a full game with a real basketball.