By John Crumpacker
#WCCHoops Columnist John Crumpacker is onsite at the 2016 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships and will be providing exclusive content throughout from the men’s and women’s tournaments.
LAS VEGAS -- As the Coordinator of Women’s Officials for the West Coast Conference, Violet Palmer likes what she sees of recent changes to the women’s game, namely going to four 10-minute quarters with a 30-second shot clock and a point of emphasis to eliminate hand-checking.
“It’s been good for our game. It’s made the game more exciting,’’ Palmer said. “Teams are able to run more because they don’t have to worry about playing a full 20 minutes. They’re able to get a little more rest, which is beneficial. They’re using less of the shot clock and taking more shots.’’
Now in her sixth year as the WCC’s Coordinator of Women’s Officials, Palmer identifies, trains and develops the conference’s referee staff and makes all game assignments. She’s at the Orleans Arena for the WCC Tournament but will soon return to her “other’’ job, that of an NBA referee.
Whereas women officials were once a novelty in the NBA, they are now a part of the game’s landscape.
“Gender is not an issue anymore. We just referee,’’ she said.
Asked which NBA players give her a particularly hard time during games, Palmer said, “All of them.’’
For the women’s college game, Palmer said the move to four quarters with an emphasis on eliminating hand-checking has made the game more appealing for fans.
“I definitely think it has, with the quarters,’’ she said. “It seems the pace of our game is faster, which makes it more exciting. It creates free-flowing movement, which creates more shots. That’s what the (NCAA Women’s Basketball) Committee wants. “Those additions have opened up our game. Players are able to move freely and create their shots.’’
As an example, Palmer cited Thursday night’s quarterfinal game between San Francisco and San Diego. A banked 3-point shot by USF’s Taylor Proctor at the end of regulation sent the game into overtime at 73-73. The Dons ended up winning 84-80.
“Just think how exciting that was,’’ Palmer said. “Our game needed that excitement.’’
John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards.