Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Offensive Fouls

Swanny's Stats has the statistics regarding offensive fouls in the WNBA for the 2009 season up to August 2, 2009.

The leader in offensive fouls committed is Nakia Sanford of the Mystics, with 14 such fouls. Thank goodness no one on the Atlanta Dream is on the short list. As for most minutes played without drawing an offensive foul, Lindsay Whalen of the Sun is at the top with 553 minutes....

...but in third place is Shalee Lehning of the Dream, who has played 345 minutes without committing an offensive foul. Can you imagine Lehning beating up someone at the post? I think not.

Whalen has not only played the most minutes without committing an offensive foul, but she seems to draw offensive fouls. She leads the WNBA in offensive fouls drawn with 12 fouls drawn. Oddly enough, Jennifer Lacy has drawn nine offensive fouls this season - it must be a hard way to make a living.

If the other team wants to beat up Jennifer Lacy, there are other players on the Dream our opponents stay away from. Iziane Castro Marques leads the WNBA in most minutes played without drawing an offensive foul, with 505 minutes played. Angel McCoughtry is third with 341 minutes played and no offensive fouls drawn.

Now, we come to what are commonly called "game violations". The first of these is "travelling". This involves the illegal movement of the feet. Basically, you've taken too many steps without dribbling the ball. DeMya Walker of the Monarchs has travelled 12 times this season - but Sancho Lyttle is in a multi-way tie for fourth with seven travelling calls against her.

There are several WNBA players who have committed what are called "ballhandling violations". Once again, these violations are crimes against the rule that says you have to move the ball by dribbling it. "Palming", "double dribble", "discontinued dribble", whatever. There are five players on the Dream who have two of these violations each: Chamique Holdsclaw, Ivory Latta, Sancho Lyttle, Angel McCoughtry and Coco Miller.

The final stat is "most 3-second lane violations". There is an area of the baskeball court called the "lane" - which is usually a rectangular box that is painted differently than the rest of the court. Before this lane existed, offensive players could go anywhere they wanted to.

Usually, they'd just hang around under the basket - particularly if they were tall. You just fed the ball to the tall person. Players like George Mikan would just hang around and dominate the area under the basket to the point that it unbalanced the game. A rule was passed - which had been around since the 1930s - that offensive players could not remain in the "paint" for more than 3 seconds at a time. (The rule was extended to defensive players, freeing up the path to the basket for the offense. However, the defensive violation isn't as called as often.)

Erika de Souza leads the WNBA in most 3-second lane violations with 11 - more than double of either Rebekka Brunson (Monarchs), Sylvia Fowles (Sky) or Lauren Jackson (Storm), who have five each. Michelle Snow had three 3-second lane infractions.

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