Duke’s Kara Lawson says men’s ball used in 1st half vs. FSU

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

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

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

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

A women’s ball is approximately 1 inch smaller in circumference than a men’s ball and is typically 2 ounces lighter. While it may not seem like much, there is a big difference.

Lawson said Duke players “complained about the ball” during the first half. The Blue Devils were 7-for-34 off the field in the first 20 minutes of that game. They were 12-for-38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

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

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

“We concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” 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.

“To be clear, the state of Florida beat us,” Lawson said. “They beat us when we played 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 that we would have won. But they can’t say that either.”

Lawson said the ACC introduced a rule change requiring players to confirm the correct ball during the captains’ meeting prior to tipoff.

“It’s very frustrating [the game] …was not treated with the utmost respect that players from both sides deserve,” she said.

This 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 ball for most of its season until the error was discovered.

https://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/35580414/duke-kara-lawson-says-men-ball-used-1st-half-vs-fsu Duke’s Kara Lawson says men’s ball used in 1st half vs. FSU

Emma Bowman

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