From US Lacrosse, some basic points about women's lacrosse:
Women's Lacrosse Positions
There are three attackers, all who look to score. Attackers must continually cut toward the goal for a shot, or cut away from the goal to make room for another player. All should have excellent stick work and be able to shoot well from every angle and distance from the goal.
The midfielders are responsible for transitioning the ball from defense to attack and vice versa. They should have speed and endurance and be ready to receive the ball from the defense and run or pass the ball. There are 5 midfielders, one of which is the Center. The center's responsibility is to control the draw and play both defense and attack. Midfielders play on both the offensive and defensive ends and have to ability to score.
There are 3 defenders that mark the opposing attackers. They should be able to stick check, body check and look to intercept passes. Also, they should be able to receive clears, run fast and have good footwork.
The goalkeeper's responsibility is to protect the goal. She should have good stickwork, courage and confidence.
Women's Lacrosse Equipment
Crosse: The crosse (lacrosse stick) is made of wood, laminated wood, or synthetic material, with a shaped net pocket at the end. The crosse must be an overall length of 35½ to 43¼ inches. The head of the crosse must be seven to nine inches wide. The pocket of the stick must be strung traditionally; no mesh is allowed. The top of the ball when dropped in the pocket must remain even with or above the side walls. The goalkeeper's crosse may be 35½ to 48 inches long. The head of the crosse may be mesh and up to 12 inches wide.
Ball: The ball must be yellow and made of solid rubber. The ball must be 7¾ to 8 inches in circumference and weigh 5 to 5¼ ounces.
Mouthpiece: All players must wear mouth guards.
Protective Equipment: Close-fitting gloves, nose guards, soft head gear and eye guards are optional, and may be worn by all players.
The Goalkeeper's Equipment: The goalkeeper must wear a face mask and helmet with a mouth guard, throat protector and chest protector. The goalkeeper may wear padding on hands, arms, legs, shoulders and chest which does not excessively increase the size of those body parts.
Women's Lacrosse Rules
Women's lacrosse is a non-contact game played by 12 players: a goalkeeper, five attackers and six defenders. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals wins.
Women's lacrosse begins with a draw, which is taken by the center position. The ball is placed between two horizontally held crosses (sticks) at the center of the field. At the sound of the whistle, the ball is flung into the air as the crosses are pulled up and away. A draw is used to start each half and after each goal, and it takes place at the center of the field.
The collegiate game is 60 minutes long, each half being 30 minutes. The high school girls game is 50 minutes long, each half being 25 minutes. In both collegiate and high school play, teams are allowed one timeout per half.
There are visual guidelines on the side of the field that are in place to provide a consistent indicator to the officials of what is considered the playing field. The minimum dimensions for a field is 120 yards by 70 yards. Additional markings on the field include a restraining line located 30 yards from each goal line, which creates an area where only a maximum of seven offensive players and eight defensive players (including the goalkeeper) are allowed; a 12-meter fan, which officials use to position players after fouls; and an arc in front of each goal, considered the critical scoring area, where defenders must be at least within a stick's-length of their attacker. The boundaries are determined by the natural restrictions of the field. An area of 120 yards by 70 yards is desirable.
When a whistle blows, all players must stop in place. When a ball is ruled out of play, the player closest to the ball gets possession when play is resumed. Loss of possession may occur if a player deliberately runs or throws the ball out of play.
Rough checks, and contact to the body with the crosse or body, are not allowed.
Field players may pass, catch or run with the ball in their crosse. A player may gain possession of the ball by dislodging it from an opponent's crosse with a check. A check is a controlled tap with a crosse on an opponent's crosse in an attempt to knock the ball free. The player must be one step in front of her opponent in order to check. No player may reach across an opponent's body to check the handle of a crosse when she is even with or behind that opponent. A player may not protect the ball in her crosse by cradling so close to her body or face so as to make a legal, safe check impossible for the opponent.
All legal checks must be directed away from a 7-inch sphere or "bubble" around the head of the player. No player is allowed to touch the ball with her hands except the goalkeeper when she is within the goal circle. A change of possession may occur if a player gains a distinct advantage by playing the ball off her body.
Fouls are categorized as major or minor, and the penalty for fouls is a "free position." For major fouls, the offending player is placed four meters behind the player taking the free position. For a minor foul, the offending player is placed four meters off, in the direction from which she approached her opponent before committing the foul, and play is resumed. When a minor foul is committed in the critical scoring area, the player with the ball has an indirect free position, in which case the player must pass first.
A slow whistle occurs when the offense has entered the critical scoring area and the defense has committed a major foul. A flag is thrown but no whistle is sounded so that the offense has an opportunity to score a goal. A whistle is blown when a goal is scored or the scoring opportunity is over. An immediate whistle is blown when a major foul, obstruction or shooting space occurs, which jeopardizes the safety of a player.
Major and Minor Fouls
Blocking: When contact is initiated by a defender who has moved into the path of an opponent with the ball without giving that player a chance to stop or change direction.
Charging: When a player charges, barges, shoulders or backs into an opponent, or pushes with the hand or body.
Dangerous Shot: When a player propels the ball toward the goal without control, or in the direction of a field player or the goalkeeper.
Misconduct: When a player conducts herself in a rough, dangerous or unsportsmanlike manner, persistently causes infringement of the rules, or deliberately endangers the safety of opposing players.
Slashing: When a defender swings her crosse at an opponent's crosse or body with deliberate viciousness or recklessness, whether or not the opponent's crosse or body is struck.
Three Seconds: A defender may not stand within the eight meter arc, unless she is closely marking an opponent, for more than three seconds.
Obstruction of Free Space: When a defender is not closely marking her opponent and is in the free space to goal of the attack player with the ball. The attack player must have the opportunity and be looking to shoot.
Goal Circle Fouls: When any part of an offensive or defensive player's body or crosse, except that of the goalkeeper or deputy, enters the goal circle.
Warding Off: When a player guards a ground ball with her crosse or foot, removes one hand from the crosse and uses her free arm to ward off an opponent, or checks an opponent's empty crosse while she is trying to get possession of the ball.
Empty Cross Check: A player may not check an opponent's cross unless the ball is in the opponent's cross.
Body Ball: A ball that hits a field player's body to her distinct advantage.
Cradle: Moving the stick from side to side causing the ball to remain in the upper part of the pocket webbing.
Checking: Using a controlled tap with a crosse on an opponent's crosse in an attempt to dislodge the ball.
Catching: The act of receiving a passed ball with the crosse.
Cutting: A movement by a player without the ball in anticipation of a pass.
Dodging: The act of suddenly shifting direction in order to avoid an opponent.
Passing: The act of throwing the ball to a teammate with the crosse.
Pick-Ups: The act of scooping a loose ball with a crosse.
Shootings: The act of throwing the ball at the goal with the crosse in an attempt to score.
Clear: Any action taken by a player within the goal circle to pass or carry the ball out of the goal circle.
Critical Scoring Area: An area 15 meters in front of and to each side of the goal and nine meters behind the goal. An eight-meter arc and 12 meter fan are marked in the area.
Crosse (Stick): The equipment used to throw, catch, check and carry the ball.
Crosse Checking: Stick to stick contact consisting of a series of controlled taps in an attempt to dislodge the ball from the crosse.
Deputy: A player who enters the goal circle when the goalie is out of the goal circle and her team is in possession of the ball.
Draw: A technique to start or resume play by which a ball is placed in between the sticks of two standing players and drawn up and away.
Eight-Meter Arc: A semi-circular area in front of the goal used for the administration of major fouls. A defender may not remain in this area for more than three seconds unless she is within a stick's length of her opponent.
Free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a major or minor foul is committed by the defense. All players must move four meters away from the player with the ball. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run, pass or shoot the ball.
Free Space To Goal: A cone-shaped path extending from each side of the goal circle to the attack player with the ball. A defense player may not, for safety reasons, stand alone in this area without closely marking an opponent.
Goal Circle: The circle around the goal with a radius of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet). No player's stick or body may "break" the cylinder of the goal circle.
Grounded: Refers to any part of the goalkeeper's or deputy's body touching the ground for support outside of the goal circle when she attempts to play the ball from inside the goal circle.
Indirect Free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a minor foul is committed by the defense inside the 12 meter fan. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run or pass, but may not shoot until a defender or one of her teammates has played the ball.
Marking: Being within a stick's length of an opponent.
Penalty Lane: The path to the goal that is cleared when a free position is awarded to the attacking team.
Scoring Play: A continuous effort by the attacking team to move the ball toward the goal and to complete a shot on goal.
Stand: All players, except the goalkeeper in her goal circle, must remain stationary following the sound of any whistle.
Sphere: An imaginary area, approximately 18 cm (seven inches) which surrounds a player's head. No stick checks toward the head are allowed to break the sphere.
12-Meter Fan: A semi-circle in front of the goal used for the administration of minor fouls.
Warning Cards: A yellow card presented by an umpire to a player is a warning which indicates that she will next receive a red card and be suspended from further participation if she continues to play dangerously and/or conduct herself in an unsportsmanlike manner. A green card is presented by an umpire to the team captain indicating a team caution for delay of game.