WNBA announces rule changes

The WNBA has announced several rule changes that will take effect next season. Most deal with instant replay, but there are a few other interesting odds and ends, too:

• The shot clock will no longer be reset to five seconds when a held ball is caused by the defense with fewer than five seconds remaining on the clock.

• On any midcourt throw-in, the ball shall be put in play from the sideline one step in the backcourt, allowing the team to pass the ball into either the back or frontcourt. (Under pre-existing rules, the ball could only be passed into the frontcourt).

• Teams may freely substitute players whenever any timeout is called. Prior to this change, there were limited circumstances in which a team couldn’t substitute for certain players at timeouts.

• If a team has too many players on the court while the ball is in play, (i) the offending team would be assessed a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul and (ii) the non-offending team would continue to have the option of either accepting or nullifying the game action that occurred during the violation and, if the ball is put back into play via a throw-in, would be awarded the ball. Previously, if the offending team had possession, it would keep possession of the ball despite the violation.