Basketball is a team sport. Two teams of five players each try to score by shooting a ball through a hoop elevated 10 feet above the ground. The game is played on a rectangular floor called the court, and there is a hoop at each end. The court is divided into two main sections by the mid-court line. If the offensive team puts the ball into play behind the mid-court line, it has ten seconds to get the ball over the mid-court line. If it doesn’t, then the defence gets the ball. Once the offensive team gets the ball over the mid-court line, it can no longer have possession of the ball in the area in back of the line. If it does, the defence is awarded the ball.

Basketball Court Diagram with Labels

The ball is moved down the court toward the basket by passing or dribbling. The team with the ball is called the offence. The team without the ball is called the defence. They try to steal the ball, contest shots, steal and deflect passes, and garner rebounds.

When a team makes a basket, they score two points and the ball goes to the other team. If a basket is made outside of the three-point arc, then that basket is worth three points. A free throw is worth one point. Free throws are awarded to a team according to some formats involving the number of fouls committed in a half and/or the type of foul committed. Fouling a shooter always results in two or three free throws being awarded the shooter, depending upon where she was when she shot. If she was beyond the three-point line, then she gets three shots. Other types of fouls do not result in free throws being awarded until a certain number have accumulated during a half. Once that number is reached, then the player who was fouled is awarded a ‘1-and-1’ opportunity. If she makes hers first free throw, she gets to attempt a second. If she misses the first shot, the ball is live on the rebound.

Each team is assigned a basket to defend. This means that the other basket is their scoring basket. At half-time, the teams switch baskets. The game begins with one player from either team at centre court. A referee will toss the ball up between the two. The player that gets her hands on the ball will tip it to a team mate. This is called a tip-off.

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