Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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Around the Rim, and officiating

I was part of the Around the Rim podcast this week, where we discussed the WNBA playoffs, and other related topics.

ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo was asked to comment on the officiating in last night’s Sparks-Mercury match up, which featured 46 fouls, three technicals, six long referee reviews and three Phoenix players fouling out. She said the problem isn’t so much with the officiating as it is with players needing to clean up their game.

A friend of mine who works in Division I basketball said he disagrees:

“Our rules hinder growth and respect, and the officiating in the WNBA is inconsistent. Basketball is a physical sport, and a lot of the calls last night in the paint were ridiculous. We’re rewarding the offense in a sense. The new freedom of movement rule that’s in place to “increase point production” and keep the game flowing does only one of those two things. Point production has increased because free throw attempts/makes have increased. No one wants to watch a 40-plus foul game like last night. These players have been playing the same way all year, but the officiating isn’t even consistent during one game. It’s frustrating to watch. How do you know what to coach or how to play if the officiating isn’t consistent? I understand that referees make mistakes, but we’re at a point of ridiculousness right now. Something has to change.”

I thought Lobo’s perspective was interesting and worthy of reflection. I also understand my friend’s position on the matter. And I remember officiating in the early days of the WNBA, which to me was much worse than it is today.

What do you think????

WNBA draft lottery postponed

The WNBA draft lottery, originally slated for tomorrow, has been postponed until next month, a spokesperson for the league said.

The lottery will determine the positions that the four teams who didn’t make the WNBA playoffs – the San Antonio Stars, the Indiana Fever, the Chicago Sky, and the Atlanta Dream – will choose in the 2018 draft.

Originally the lottery was to be broadcast at a break between playoff semifinal games tomorrow. The rescheduled date in October hasn’t yet been selected.

Sparks use strong second half to take down Mercury, 79-66

Nneka Ogwumike scores. Photo by Photo by Benita West/TGSportsTV1.

Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Sparks overcame a slow start to pull away from the Phoenix Mercury in the fourth quarter and win, 79-66, in the first game of the WNBA playoff semifinals Tuesday.

Nneka Ogwumike led the way for the defending champion Sparks with 19 points, as the rest of the starting five also scored in double figures, including Candace Parker’s 15 points and Chelsea Gray’s 13.

The game was a start-and-stop affair where officials made 46 foul calls and assessed three technical fouls, all on the Mercury. Center Brittney Griner, who had 18 points for the visitors, and Camille Little, who grabbed 11 rebounds, fouled out of the game, as did reserve Emma Cannon. Leilani Mitchell scored 19 points.

After going into the halftime break tied at 42, Los Angeles outscored their opponents in the third quarter, 14-6. They carried that momentum into the final period to seal the win.

Game two of the series tips off Thursday night at Cal State Long Beach.

Recharged Lynx dominate Mystics in semifinals game one, 101-81

Kristi Toliver defends Seimone Augustus. Photo by Brian Few Jr./TGSportsTV1.

Minneapolis – Seimone Augustus erupted for 24 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx past the Washington Mystics, 101-81, in dominating fashion Tuesday in the first round of the WNBA semifinals.

Most Valuable Player candidate Sylvia Fowles and Renee Montgomery each added 18 points and Maya Moore, 14 in a dominating performance that saw the return of point guard Lindsay Whalen to the starting lineup. The Lynx struggled over the last month after Whalen had been forced to sit with a broken hand bone.

Elena Delle Donne scored 17 points for the Mystics and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 16. Kristi Toliver, who led Washington past the New York Liberty with 32 points in Sunday’s second round, had just three points against Minnesota.

Minnesota shot 59 percent from the field and set a new playoff record for the franchise with 12 three-point shots, which helped balloon their lead to as much as 29 points in the third quarter.

The two teams face off in game two Thursday.

Just a little tidbit

They’re Playing Basketball: Just a little tidbit

Upsets send Mercury, Mystics into semifinals

And then there were four:

Upsets prevailed in round two of the playoffs today………

The experienced Mercury ousted the Sun, 88-83.

Kristi Toliver’s WNBA-record nine three-point shots sent the Mystics past the Liberty, 82-68.

The playoff format dictated that lowest seed would head to Minnesota and the other seed would go to LA, so that means Tuesday’s schedule looks like this:

Mystics at Lynx, 7 p.m. Central on ESPN2

Mercury at Sparks, 7 p.m. Pacific on ESPN2


Jonquel Jones is the most improved player of the year.

Curt Miller is the coach of the year and the WNBA executive of the year.

Sugar Rodgers is the sixth woman of the year.

WNBA player news:

Sugar Rodgers’ story: defying the odds.

College coach news:

Muffet McGraw connects at Notre Dame and in South Bend.

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