Women’s basketball has consistently struggled to draw fans, creating nowhere near the amount of spectators that the men’s games does. However, last year the attendance for division one women’s basketball reached record-highs. Although the women’s game has made progress towards growth, UConn’s Geno Auriemma feels that it needs to grow faster. His solution to the problem is simple – lower the rims.
Auriemma attributes the popularity of men’s basketball to the high scoring and dunking that highlight almost every game. In order for the women’s game to compete, he thinks the rim should be lowered 7 inches, allowing women to add similar dynamics to the game.
If the women play more like the men, they will have more spectators right? Wrong.
This would only diminish the respect that has grown for the women’s game. Women would be given an easier route, making it seem inferior and far less credible than the men’s game. This is lowering the bar for the women’s game, something a head coach such as Auriemma should not want.
Auriemma’s success at UConn, coaching seven national championship teams and developing some of the game’s best players such as Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, has helped the reputation of women’s basketball grow drastically. Of all people, he should understand that the great players in the league work hard to win championships and earn the same respect as the great players on the men’s side.
Auriemma thinks adding more offense to the women’s game is the answer to increasing attendance and gaining fans. The moment the rim is lowered, and scores begin to sky rocket, fans will immediately begin talking about how defense is a lost art in the women’s game.
As a women’s basketball coach himself, I would think Auriemma would be focused on growing the sport by highlighting the abilities of female athletes, like the evident increase in athleticism displayed by Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins in last year’s championship game.
Lowering the rim may add a few more dunks into the women’s game, but if the women’s side wants to continue gaining the respect of fans, this is surely not the way to do it.