A sport played in many nations, but not quite enough to earn Olympic status. The lineup at the 2001 Women's Lacrosse World Cup includes Argentina, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Japan, Scotland, the USA and Wales.

A large difference between women's lacrosse and men's lacrosse is the lack of pads in the women's game. Male lacrosse players wear helmets, shoulder pads and heavily padded gloves. The only protective equipment female lacrosse players wear is a mouthguard (other than the goaltender, who's helmeted- and padded-up.)

Because they're not wearing pads, women's lacrosse outlaws body checking. In men's lacrosse, you can smack your opponent with your stick about as often as you want; not so in the women's game. Moreover, it is a foul to put your stick in a dangerous position, or to shoot dangerously.

The other major difference is the offsides rule. Women's college lacrosse in the U.S. only recently (late '90s) added a restraining line at midfield, with the rule that only seven offensive players and eight defensive players (seven + goalie) can be on the same side of the field as the ball. Men's lacrosse, on the other hand, has two such restraining lines, and they're a bit stricter over who can cross it.

Basically, men's lacrosse is more one-on-one, more physical and quicker transition play. Women's lacrosse is more oriented towards teamwork on offense and has longer offensive sets.

Greatest player I've ever seen is two-time NCAA Player of the Year Kelly Amonte, University of Maryland '96. She's the sister of NHL ice hockey player Tony Amonte.

The most striking thing about women's lacrosse may be the way penalties and fouls are assessed.

In the NCAA women's game, fouls are handled by stopping play, but with all players freezing and holding their positions. The offending player is moved out of position behind the ball-carrier or the player who got fouled. The action is then restarted with all other players in the same position. Some easy shots can result from this system, because the ball-carrier is often wide open at the restart.

Fouls near the goal are also handled differently than in the men's game. There is an arc and a box surrounding the goal where fouls produce a direct or indirect shot, depending on the foul.

Penalties are resolved by removing the penalized player from the match for the duration of the penalty. However, the team is allowed to substitute another player, so no power play results. The removal of a starter is considered a large enough disadvantage for the team.

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