WNBA admits officiating error in final 1:14 of Game 5, Lynx coach Reeve blasts referees

Video: WNBA.

For the second time in the 2016 WNBA Finals, the league issued a statement on a mistake made by officials at a crucial moment in play. The latest statement from Renee Brown, WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, regards a play late in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Sparks’ 77-76 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday at Target Center:

“After reviewing postgame video, we have determined that Nneka Ogwumike’s shot with 1:14 remaining in regulation time should not have counted due to a shot-clock violation, and that the referees improperly failed to review the play under the instant replay rules.”

Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve was livid when discussing the officiating in her opening statement to the press after her team lost to the Sparks in Game 5.

A couple things I want to do first. First is to congratulate the LA Sparks for a great series, hard-fought. They deserved winning. They did some things today that were necessary to put them over the top.

The second thing is I want to — as I expressed to these guys, this is a really special group led by Seimone, Maya. We had a great season that didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but I’m no less proud today than on the days that we actually won a championship.

And then I want to do like other teams do, which is bemoan the officiating in that they botched a call at 1:14. Nneka Ogwumike’s shot was not good. It was reviewable at the time when she shot it. The referees at that point didn’t think anything was wrong. They didn’t understand it was the end of the clock. They didn’t hear the shot clock.

When they put the ball in play, the play is no longer reviewable, yet in the first quarter, three or four minutes or five minutes can go by until the next step stoppage of play before a review. So it’s really unfortunate that players continually put themselves out there playing and competing at a really high level, whether it was the eight-second call in the game in LA — doesn’t matter, okay. The game today, it’s not fair to the players. It’s not enough just to apologize and send out a memo that they got something wrong, okay. These players are so invested, and something must be done about the officiating in this league because it is not fair to these great players that we have.

She was asked about what could be done to improve the officiating. Her response:

I don’t get paid enough to have to do somebody else’s job, too. Just get the simple things right, simple. Eight-second call, shot-clock violation. Get the simple things right and we’ll live with the other stuff that happens in a game. I’m not taking anything away from LA. Please know that. It takes hustle plays to win championships on the road, and they made hustle plays.

But it’s unfortunate that we’re even having this discussion. The number of people that have contacted us and said that shot was no good. It’s unfortunate. I mean, I don’t know what happens from there. Maybe they still win; I don’t know. That’s why I don’t want to take anything away from LA. That doesn’t stop the other teams from bitching and complaining when it’s happened in our favor, so we might as well get our bitching and complaining in, as well.

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