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WNBA fine-tunes challenge and timeout rules as season opener approaches

Changes to how teams can challenge calls and use timeouts are meant to keep the game flowing more smoothly.
New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart, right, drives to basket during the third quarter of a WNBA basketball game.
Posted at 10:21 PM, May 02, 2024

The WNBA is making minor adjustments to two gameplay rules this season that are meant to keep the game flowing smoothly.

First, teams will get access to a second Coach's Challenge, which is used to review certain referee calls on instant replay for accuracy.

Events eligible for the Coach's Challenge include calls for fouls on a team, out-of-bounds violations or basket interference.

New for the 2024 season, teams will be granted a second challenge, so long as they win their first challenge and a call is overturned. Since challenges consume a timeout, teams will have to have timeouts available for use to challenge a call.

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Second, timeout rules are being adjusted. Teams will now get five team timeouts, up from four; and one "Reset" timeout during the last phases of play. The two 20-second timeouts teams had available in earlier seasons will be removed.

The reset timeout involves "a stoppage of play requested by a team that allows it to advance the ball and make substitutions but not huddle." Each team is allotted one reset timeout during the last two minutes of regulation play, and one during the last two minutes of any overtime.

If either team huddles during a reset timeout, they will be penalized for delay of game.

The adjustments come just ahead of the start of preseason play on Friday, May 3. The season proper will begin on May 14, with the Indiana Fever against the Connecticut Sun, the Minnesota Lynx against the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics against the New York Liberty.

You can watch WNBA games as they appear this season on ION Network, starting on May 17. Ion is a division of the E.W. Scripps Company, which also owns Scripps News.