The shock wave going through college basketball right now is the rules change prohibiting hand checking. Murmurs have spread from coast-to-coast.
The dean of Big 12 women’s basketball coaches – Iowa State’s Bill Fennelly – discussed Monday the change’s impact on the game.
“It’s here to stay and it’s a huge thing that we’re going to have to deal with,” Fennelly said. “It’s going to change the game and we all need to understand that and coach to it.”
In a way, Fennelly has been “coaching to it” for most of his career.
“You better be a great free throw shooting team,” he said.
Check. The Cyclones led the NCAA (80.5%) in that category a year ago. This year’s team is built around Hallie Christofferson, who attempted a team-high 130 as a junior and hit 86%.
“You better have more depth than you thought you needed,” Fennelly said.
That’s a work in progress. Fennelly used eight players in the season opener and admitted he would like another guard to step forward and into the mix.
“We’re a team that, historically, has been a leader in the country in fewest fouls,” he added, hoping that trend continues.
Check. Eight times in the last dozen seasons, the Cyclones have ranked in the nation’s Top 30 for fewest fouls. Iowa State led the nation in that statistic in 2006 (11.8 per game) and placed 5th in 2002, 9th in 2003 and 3rd in 2008. Not fouling is a Fennelly staple.
So, it’s not a stretch to say that Fennelly’s adaptation might be less difficult than others. He does admit, however, it will be different.
“I’ve always had the ‘1st-half, 2-fouls’ rule you sit,” Fennelly said. “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that (anymore).”