March Madness

Court for women's NCAA Tournament in Portland has 3-point lines with different distances

The difference showed in the statistics, too.

The Associated Press

Texas players defend as North Carolina State players pass the ball during the second half of an Elite Eight college basketball game in the women’s NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2024, in Portland, Ore. North Carolina State won 76-66. (AP Photo/Tim Booth)

The 3-point line for the women's NCAA Tournament at Moda Center had a discrepancy in distance at each end of the court that went unnoticed through four games over two days before Texas and North Carolina State were informed of the problem ahead of their Elite Eight matchup on Sunday.

The teams' coaches agreed to play Sunday's game as scheduled with the mismatched 3-point lines rather than delay it, the NCAA said in a statement. N.C. State beat Texas 76-66 to advance to the Final Four.

“The NCAA was notified (Sunday) that the 3-point lines on the court at Moda Center in Portland are not the same distance. The two head coaches were made aware of the discrepancy and elected to play a complete game on the court as is, rather than correcting the court and delaying the game,” the statement said.

Four Sweet 16 games on Friday and Saturday were played without any of the participating teams saying anything publicly about a problem with the court.

During pregame warmups, Texas coach Vic Schaefer and N.C. State coach Wes Moore were informed that the 3-point line distance at the top of the key was different on both ends of the floor. The distance between the top of the key and the 3-point line was shorter at one end.

NCAA officials were asked to measure the distance and brought out a tape measure about 15 minutes before tip-off. After discussions between NCAA representatives, the coaches and officials, the game went on as scheduled.

Schaefer said a delay would have taken at least an hour because someone from the outside would have to be brought in to remark the floor and could have forced the game to be bumped from being broadcast on ABC.

“At the end of the day we had already played a game on it and we both won, so we just decided to play,” Schaefer said.

The NCAA said the court would be corrected before Monday's Elite Eight matchup between Southern California and UConn.

While the NCAA did not provide details, one 3-point line near the top of the key appeared to be about 6 inches closer to the basket than at the opposite end of the floor. The 3-point line for NCAA basketball is at 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches for both women and men.

The line at one end appeared to be too close to the basket. And the numbers bore that out.

Through five games, teams shooting on the end with the closer 3-point arc were 25.8% (23 of 89) on 3-pointers. At the end of the floor that appeared correct, teams shot 33.3% (29 of 87).

Baylor coach Nicki Cullen, whose team lost to USC in the Sweet 16, posted on social media that with eight teams at one site, the focus was on game plan, not what the court looked like.

Baylor was 6 of 14 on 3-pointers in the second half while shooting at the end of the floor with the longer arc.

“Guess that’s why we shot it better in the 2nd half,” Cullen posted.

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