How Many Quarters In Basketball: Detailed Answer

The rules of competing in basketball are complicated for those who are new to the sport. In particular, how many quarters in basketball is one of the most sought-after issues.

So how much does it include? The following article will help you find the answer.

How Many Quarters In Basketball Games? 

Like many other contact sports, a game does not last continuously but is always divided into quarters. This is a valuable time for the players to regain their strength and discuss tactics to keep up with the game situation.

According to FIBA general rules, a professional match will last 40 minutes and be divided equally into four quarters.

However, depending on each tournament, region, or participant, this rule will change slightly to better suit the player. Here is information on some of the most popular games:  

High school league

A match in high school only lasted 32 minutes of official play. The players must also go through four quarters like the more significant levels, each lasting only 8 minutes.

This rule applies to both men’s and women’s tournaments.

University games

Since college-level players have better physical backgrounds, the length per game will also be longer than in high school. A student match can last up to two hours, depending on the match’s outcome.

The rules of the game are different for men and women.

At this level, the men’s and women’s tournaments differ slightly in the number of rounds. Although there are 40 mins, the male students must compete in two halves, while the female students compete in four ones.

NBA game

The NBA’s league is like the NCAA, or WNBA, which usually lasts up to two hours until the end. Each match in this league has four ones, but each round is limited to 12 minutes.

  • Before the start of the match, each team will have 20 mins to prepare.
  • The break-time between the first and second half is 2 mins.
  • The break between the 2nd and 3rd halves is 15 mins. After that, the two teams will exchange their turf and continue to play the 3rd and 4th half on this new field.
  • The break-time between the 3rd and 4th rounds is 2 mins.

Extra quarter

In the end, an extra quarter will be played to determine the winner if both teams still have the same score. Each of these different periods will last 5 minutes or overtime.

At the end of an extra period, the game is over if there is a point difference between the two teams.

Read more: How Many Periods In Basketball

Is The Playing Time Of A Quarter Fixed? 

The standard length prescribed by FIBA is 12 minutes for each official quarter. However, more and more tournaments appear worldwide, and each match will have different rules. For example:

  • The NBA tournament has about 12 mins for each half.
  • For the NCAA tournament, each round lasts 20 mins.
  • Junior leagues have only 8 minutes.

In short, the official length is flexible, but it depends on whether you are talking about men’s or women’s leagues, the scope of the company, etc.

In the competition, there is also a case where an extra round takes place when the parties cannot determine the winner. The parties do not change the pitch but play spare time within 5 mins to determine the result.

Are There Any Rules For Each Quarter? 

Each round has a strict time limit.

According to the general FIBA rules, the first quarter will start when the referee throws the ball from above to the center circle’s center with his left hand. The referee will use the whistle to signal the first half to start officially.

The first half occurs when a team player touches the ball correctly. For other innings, it begins when a player of one team kick ball violation occurs.

At the end of the round, the referee will signal the whistle to signal the teams to stop for a halftime break. If there is an error during play, but the clock indicates the end of the half, the free kick will be taken before the halftime interval.

The time of each half will be stopped if the teams have a time-out, make substitutions, or create an error during play. Each quarter must ensure enough members are on the field according to the tournament rules.

Read more: How Many Steps Can You Take In Basketball


Above is some information we have compiled to answer the question of how many quarters in basketball. Hopefully, after this article, it will help you understand more about the rules of this sport and love it more. We hope you have fun playing moments.

Thanks for reading, and see you in other posts.


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  • Dalvir O'Connor

    Meet Dalvir O'Connor, CEO and founder of Sportssio, boasts 15 years of experience in sports knowledge and analysis, backed by his Master's degree in Sport Psychology....

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