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NCAA Women's Basketball rules committee approves move to four quarters

The NCAA women's basketball rules committee approved a switch from two halves to four quarters on Monday night as well as a handful of other changes to enhance the game's pace. What does it mean for the sport as a whole? Let's examine.

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The NCAA is trying to catch up with the times, literally.

The women's basketball rules committee announced on Monday that it had adopted a handful of changes for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The most striking of those changes will be the switch from two 20-minute halves to four 10-minute quarters. It's a change that has been a long time coming for women's hoops, with staunch supporters on including long-time UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, who has been fighting for the transition to quarters for years.

But what does it mean to the game?

In the simplest terms, it means a faster basketball game. It has to be if only because the periods that teams are working with are faster and more concise than 20-minute halves. It also means that fouls, and even intentional fouling, have taken on a whole new life.

In the pre-Monday NCAA women's basketball world a team reached the bonus after seven fouls and would earn, at least, one free throw for each subsequent foul. Teams would then reach the double bonus after ten fouls and would shoot two free throws.

That's all different now.

With the switch to quarters, both teams foul count will reset after each ten minute period, and teams will shoot two free throws once they're whistled for five fouls. It's a move that the NCAA hopes will add a bit more excitement to the game.

Following that thought, the rules committee also announced a second major change on Monday, allowing teams to advance the ball to the frontcourt after a final timeout in the final minute of the fourth quarter or during overtime. The idea here is that teams will be able to be in a (slightly)better position to connect on game-winning shots in those waning seconds of a matchup.

As an added bonus, pep bands and "amplified music" will also be allowed during any dead-ball moment next year instead of only being allowed during timeouts.

The NCAA is trying to make things more dramatic, appealing to the masses with these changes. The WNBA already plays in quarters and it makes sense that the college game would follow suit. Whether or not these changes, and their timing, helps put fans in the seats, particularly at tournament time, is yet to be seen.