Tara VanDerveer critical of 3-point line error at women’s NCAA Tournament: ‘Inexcusable and unfair’

Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer called a measurement error that led to the top of the 3-point line being marked 9 inches shorter at one end of the court for the first five games of the women’s NCAA Tournament’s Portland regional “inexcusable and unfair to every team that played on it.”

“When you arrive at a gym, especially in the NCAA Tournament, at the very least you expect the baskets to be 10 feet and the floor markings to be correct,” VanDerveer said in a statement Monday. “For an error of that magnitude to overshadow what has been an incredible two weekends of basketball featuring sensational teams and incredible individual performances is unacceptable and extremely upsetting.”

The NCAA said Monday it corrected the issue ahead of the Elite Eight game between No. 1 USC and No. 3 Connecticut. That game is set for 9:15 p.m. ET on Monday.

The NCAA got word before No. 1 Texas and No. 3 NC State were set to tip off Sunday that the two lines were uneven. The line by the Texas bench was correct, but the line by the NC State bench was too short, and both teams elected to play the game without the court’s correction.

The NCAA did not confirm how it first discovered the issue, but called it a “human error” by a finisher contracted by Connor Sports — the official vendor of the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament courts since 2006. The NCAA apologized for the issue, writing in a statement it wishes it caught the error sooner.

The NCAA said Monday the incorrect 3-point line was painted “with a color that matches as closely as possible the wood grain of the floor.” The correct 3-point line — 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches from the basket — is marked in black.

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The NCAA said that a corrected 3-point line was marked in black on the court at Moda Center in Portland, Ore. (Photo: Ashley Young / The Athletic)

According to the NCAA, the error only affected the 3-point line’s apex.

Coaches from NC State and Texas said the error did not affect their teams’ performances. NC State shot 50 percent from beyond the arc Sunday, and although the Longhorns shot just 17 percent from deep, coach Vic Schaefer didn’t blame his team’s struggles on the measurement error. His players found out only after the game that there was a discrepancy.

The NCAA on Monday sent a statistical analysis of how the incorrect line impacted teams.

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Stanford was 5-of-25 shooting from behind the arc during the Cardinal’s 77-67 loss to NC State on Friday at Moda Center, while NC State was 7-of-17 shooting from 3 for the game. On the side with the inaccurate 3-point line, the Cardinal made 2 of 13 3-pointers (15.4 percent). They made 3 of 12 shots (25 percent) from beyond the arc on the side with the correct line.

The NCAA called the issue an “isolated incident,” and said it reviewed all of the other courts previously used in both the men’s and women’s tournaments and found they were accurate.

“We apologize for this error and the length of time for which it went unnoticed,” the NCAA said. “Simply put, this court did not meet our expectations, and the NCAA should have caught the error sooner.”

“We will work with all of the NCAA’s suppliers and vendors to establish additional quality control measures to ensure this does not happen in future tournaments.”

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(Photo: Candice Ward / USA Today)


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