Kara Lawson Oct 21, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, US; Duke Blue Devils women’s head coach Kara Lawson speaks during Countdown to Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke lost to Florida State 70-57 last Sunday, and head coach Kara Lawson was still upset four days later about what happened in that game. Lawson revealed Thursday night that men’s basketballs were used for the first two quarters of their women’s basketball game and slammed those responsible for the oversight.

Lawson said, “This would never happen in a men’s game…It’s embarrassing for our sport.”

It might not sound like a major difference, but if you’re practicing and playing with a certain type of basketball over thousands of hours and suddenly play with a slightly bigger and heavier ball, that’s going to mess with you. Similar to a basketball rim being 10 feet high, if it’s accidentally set an inch too high or too low, it could cause players to have a bad shooting night.

Both teams appeared to struggle in the first half of the game, as Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” Duke went 7-for-34 from the field in the first half, while Florida State went 10-for-30. Both teams played slightly better in the second half, but Duke still struggled in the third quarter, and the Seminoles outscored the Blue Devils 40-35 in the final two quarters. According to Lawson, assistant coach Winston Gandy checked on the ball during halftime and officials changed the ball for the second half.

Lawson made it clear that she wasn’t using that as an excuse, as Florida State had to play with the same basketballs. That being said, Lawson still wanted to appeal, saying, “I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that, either.”

An appeal didn’t happen and the ACC released a statement denying Lawson’s allegation that men’s basketballs were used in the first half. After a review, the conference concluded that “there was no evidence found to support the claim.”

The No. 16 ranked Blue Devils have seven games left on their regular season with four against top 25 opponents. The No. 23 Seminoles have an easier schedule for the rest of the season, with their only top 25 opponent being No. 13 Virginia Tech.


About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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