Oklahoma, the No. 2 women’s basketball team in the nation, coached by marquee attraction Sherri Coale, made its biennial appearance in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday night, and one night later, nobody could be heard talking about it in public. Courtney Paris, one of women’s college basketball’s biggest stars, came and went without a murmur about her.
The announced crowd for the game was 4,332, not a bad number, but not worthy of a visit from the No. 2 team in the nation and the sport’s most popular coach. Many of the fans backed Oklahoma.
Yet again, news of the men’s basketball team’s latest victory, a gutsy one in Manhattan, dominated bar talk.
Women’s basketball — the sport in general, not just Kansas University’s perennial lower-division Big 12 program — can’t seem to work its way into the conversation in Lawrence.
I’m here to help.
The sport needs to be overhauled with major rules changes that would create an entirely new look, a far more exciting game. Lower the hoop from 10 feet to nine feet, shorten the court from 94 feet to 80 feet and cut back the halves to 15 minutes from 20 minutes. Men are taller, jump higher and run faster than women, so as long as women play the same game by the same rules, they always will come up short when compared. So invent a new game that better suits the bodies of the athletes who play it.
You think maybe the women’s basketball team would lead Channel 6 sportscasts more often if Aishah Sutherland were throwing down 360-degree slam dunks? Of course it would. Shooting percentages would soar. Fast breaks would be faster. The game would be played above the rim.
Face it, the best way to grow women’s basketball is to shrink it.
I would say it’s amazing nobody has come up with the idea yet, but the truth is many probably have, they just were afraid to express it. Political correctness in the sports world is such that nobody spends much time talking about how to improve women’s basketball for fear of being labeled a sexist pig.
So critics shut up and let their absence from games do their talking for them.
Yet, in real-world professions that require discipline and physically taxing duties, different standards are required from women than from men.
The minimum scores on the Tanner Scale for Physical Fitness used by the military and police forces are different for men and women. It is so because of realism, not sexism.
It’s time for everybody to open his or her mind and let in the idea of lowering the hoops to raise the excitement.
Here’s a challenge for every basketball fan in Lawrence. Purchase a ticket for the Iowa State-Kansas basketball game Feb. 22 at noon. Wear pink to the game, which has been designated “Pink Zone Women’s Basketball Game.” The promotion is designed to raise awareness for breast cancer, and Kansas Athletics will donate $1 for every fan in attendance to support breast cancer treatment and research.
While at the game, ask yourself the following question and answer it honestly: Would you enjoy the game more if the hoops were a foot closer to the floor?