Duke women’s coach Lawson says men’s ball is used against FSU

Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team played with a men’s basketball in the first half of a loss to Florida State last Sunday.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles 70-57 in Tallahassee, Fla. — the Atlantic Coast Conference team’s second loss of the season.

After his team beat Pittsburgh 53-44 on Thursday, Lawson ended his press conference by speaking animatedly about Sunday’s game.

“That would never happen in a men’s game. It would never happen. It’s embarrassing for our sport,” she said.

The circumference of a women’s ball is about an inch smaller than that of a men’s ball and is generally 2 ounces lighter. Although that doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s a big difference.

Lawson said throughout the first half that the Duke players were “complaining about the ball”. The Blue Devils were 7 for 34 from the field in the first 20 minutes of this game. They were 12 in 38 in the second half. Florida State shot 10 of 30 in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

“To have a game that at the end of the season could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can understand who are the people I’m talking about who have failed in the sport and our players and both teams.

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at halftime to check the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the match officials changed the ball to start the second half.

“We concluded through our investigation that this was a men’s prom,” Lawson said. “The conference and the state of Florida say that was not the case.”

Lawson said she wanted to appeal the game, but the conference wouldn’t let her.

“Let’s be clear: Florida State beat us. They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we would have played with a women’s ball in the first half and in the second half we would have won. But they can’t say that either,” Lawson said.

Lawson said the ACC instituted a rule change under which players must confirm the fair ball at the captains’ meeting before whistleblowing.

“It’s very frustrating that (the game)…wasn’t treated with the utmost respect that the players of both teams deserve,” she said.

It wasn’t the first time this had happened in women’s basketball. In 2017, the College of Charleston played home games and practiced with men’s balls for most of their season until the error was discovered.


AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https:/ /twitter.com/AP_Top25


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