Coach says Duke-Florida State women used wrong basketball; ACC denies error

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Duke women's basketball coach Kara Lawson said a men's ball was used during a recent loss to Florida State, which could lead to postseason implications.

The ACC said Friday that it found "no evidence" for that claim, and that NCAA rules do not allow for an appeal or protest of the game. The circumference for a women's basketball is about 1-inch smaller than men's ball. Women's basketball also are about 2 ounces lighter.


Lawson said Blue Devils players complained about difficulty of handling the ball throughout the first half over their 70-57 loss to Florida State on Sunday at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee.

The Blue Devils coach spoke about the issue when she met with reporters after a 53-44 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday in Durham, N.C.

RELATED Kobe Bryant's iconic MVP jersey heads to auction

"This would never happen in a men's game," Lawson told reporters. "This just wouldn't happen. It's embarrassing for our sport."


The ACC said in a statement Friday that officials from the conference were made aware of the allegation "immediately" and conducted a "comprehensive review" into the matter.

"This included discussion with all parties involved, including game officials, game administrators, table crew and both schools," the conference said. "Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim.

RELATED College basketball: Texas Tech upsets Iowa State with record 23-point rally

"Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process. ... The conference office considers this matter to be closed and will have no further comment."

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy then went to the scorer's table after players complained about the size of the ball. She said Gandy discovered that a men's ball was used for the first half and that the head official then changed the ball to a women's ball.

Duke and Notre Dame are tied atop the ACC. Florida State is one spot behind in the standings, which means Thursday's result could impact seeding for the conference and NCAA tournaments.

RELATED Referees union acknowledges 'gut-wrenching' missed call against LeBron James

"It's been very frustrating that, at this level of basketball, a mistake like that happens that could have impacted the outcome of the game," Lawson said.

"Let me 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. I can't say that if we played with a women's ball in the first half and second half, we would have won. But they can't say that, either.


"It's very frustrating that a game that has so many conference implications, selection and seeding implications was not treated with the utmost respect that players on both teams deserve."

Lawson also said she wanted to "appeal and protest" the game, but the ACC would "not allow" it.

The Blue Devils (19-3) will face Notre Dame (18-3) at 1 p.m. EST Sunday in Notre Dame, Ind. The Seminoles (20-5) will battle Miami (14-8) at 6 p.m. Thursday in Coral Gables, Fla.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us