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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????