The NCAA Women's Lacrosse Rules Committee met in Indianapolis last week and amongst the rule changes officially recommended by the panel was a 90 second shot clock.
The clock would start immediately when a team gains possession and would only reset after a change in possession or a shot that was deflected by either the goalie or the crossbar or posts on the goal. Shots that go high or wide would not cause the clock to reset.
This is a pure shot clock, not a stall warning clock as seen in men's lacrosse. It does, however, have the exact same reset mechanism as the men's stall warning clock.
Next to slapping some helmets and shoulder pads on the players, this is the next best way to improve the sport. Without a shot clock and without the physicality that's allowed in the men's game, women's lacrosse players are capable of just running out the clock if they gain possession with minutes left in the game. For example, look at Marquette's game against Georgetown this season. The Golden Eagles pulled within one goal with 5:45 remaining, and while MU won the ensuing draw, GU's Maddie Fisher made a save on Marquette's next shot, giving the Hoyas the ball with 4:37 remaining. There was no shot clock in 2015, so Georgetown was able to run out the clock. With a 90 second clock, though, even if Georgetown just stood there and let the clock expire, MU would have had 3:07 left to play to tie the game up.
The shot clock is recommended to start in 2017, which would be two seasons from now. This gives programs one full calendar year to budget for the purchase of the clocks.
That wasn't the only change recommended by the committee. Also on the list:
- Self-restarts will be allowed on foul calls outside of the critical scoring areas on the field. Allowing players the chance to quickly restart play after a foul should lead to a quicker pace of play.
- Stick checks will be required of every stick that scores a goal immediately following the goal, as well as more extensive checks by the referees before the game and the already allowed three checks at each coach's request.
- Overtime will be changed from the current format of two three-minute periods where the most goals wins to sudden victory rules, with the teams changing ends every three minutes.
- And finally, the creation of a defensive three seconds call. Any defender inside the 8 meter arc that's not closely guarding an offensive player for three second will be guilty of a minor foul, and the offensive team will be given possession at the 12 meter arc for a pass to a teammate, but not a shot on goal.