MINNEAPOLIS - It's too little, too late.
After a controversial final seconds in what was a down-to-the-wire Game 5, the WNBA has released a statement saying a game-deciding call in the Minnesota Lynx-Los Angeles Sparks match-up was, in fact, a failure.
Renee Brown, WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, issued the statement Friday:
“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.”
Ogwumike later made the game-winning shot at the buzzer, giving the Sparks a 77-76 win for their first championship since 2002.
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On Thursday, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was quick to point out the botched call, saying it wasn't fair to the players.
"They botched a call. 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’s no longer reviewable," she said. "... So it’s really unfortunate that players continuously put themselves out there playing and competing at a high level — whether it’s the eight-second (backcourt call) in (Game 4) in L.A., it doesn’t matter. The game today, it’s not fair to the players. It’s not enough just to apologize and send out a memo."
During a press conference on Friday, Gov. Mark Dayton commented on the Lynx's final game, saying he was in complete agreement with Reeve.
“Lynx had a terrible loss last night. I agree with Coach Reeve who is just a phenomenal coach," he said. "I watched a tape of her press, and I agree with her assessment of what a tragedy it is when officiating at that critical moment changes, it might change the outcome."
It's the second time in a week officials missed a call. The WNBA acknowledged the referees missed an 8-second backcourt violation late in Game 4, which Minnesota won.
Click here to watch a replay of the shot in question.