There's no reason girls can't shoot better than the boys

Published2/1/2008 12:18 AM

Girls should shoot better than boys.

I've thought that for a long time but have never heard anyone say the same thing.


Compared to boys basketball, the girls game is slower thanks to the physical difference between the sexes. For those basketball fans looking for explosive excitement, the biggest rap on the girls is they don't dunk.

Of course, thanks to Candace Parker, fans around here know it's possible for a girl to dunk, but it remains about as rare as a close Super Bowl.

The long-standing argument in support of girls and especially women hoopsters is that they exhibit better fundamentals than the guys. I've always found that to be a stretch stemming from a desperation to put the girls on the same level as the guys. While a basketball purist can find joy in watching females execute the fundamentals, let's not kid ourselves. Males exhibit great fundamentals, too. They're just able to be quicker and stronger in executing them.

But while guys in general can run faster, jump higher and, yes, dunk more than girls thanks to genetics, girls should shoot better than guys.

It's all about the size of the ball and the hoop.

Females play with a basketball slightly smaller than males in order for them to control the ball better with their smaller hands. In high school, college and the pros, males play with a ball that measures 29.5 inches in circumference, while a female ball's circumference is 28.5 inches.

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A Google search revealed that a male ball has a diameter of 9.39 inches with a female ball's diameter at 9.07 inches.

The hoop is the same for both sexes whether at the playground down the street, your local high school or the United Center. Its diameter is 18 inches.

It's been awhile since I sat in a math class at Willowbrook High School, but I know it's easier for a ball with a diameter of 9.07 inches to be shot through a hoop than one with a diameter of 9.39 inches.

The difference may be slight, but the numbers should fall in favor of the girls over time much like how the odds of a Vegas roulette wheel fall in favor of the house.

Other factors come into play, of course. You can say a guy has a better chance than a girl to create a better look at the basket against a defender thanks to physical superiority.


Yet such reaction differences are wiped out at the free-throw line, which boils shooting down to its essence. It's like a carnival game, only the hoop is bigger and you don't get a stuffed animal when you make one. With much of the physical factor removed, it comes down to a game of skill.

Yet some physical factors remain. What is the optimal height to shoot at a basket 10 feet high? What hand size is ideal to control each ball? A study is begging to be done to determine the answers to these questions.

The top free-throw shooter in DuPage County is Downers Grove South's Malcolm Herron, who's shooting 93 percent from the line. The girls leader is Lake Park's Samantha Arnold, who's 82.5 percent would place her third among the boys.

Around DuPage County, 31 boys and only 15 girls are shooting 70 percent or better from the charity stripe.


Maybe the girls' basketball needs to be made even a little smaller to further equalize the physical discrepancy between females and males on the court.

Or maybe the difference is a matter of practice.

Whatever the case, I stand by my claim that girls should shoot better than boys.

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