Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"They're Not Bad on Purpose."

At this evening's pre-game chalk talk, Mystics GM Angela Taylor fielded the always predictable question about officiating in the WNBA. "They're not bad on purpose," she told the fans in attendance. But at the conclusion of tonight's game, we were really left wondering.

The BasketCases have seen plenty of interesting officiating over the years of following the Mystics. Most of the time we conclude that, yes, it's bad, but it's often kind of random. Bad calls, missed calls that go against the Mystics; bad calls, missed calls that go against our opponent. It usually balances out . . . more or less. That's why in years of writing this blog, we rarely complain about the officiating.

But tonight was one of those nights when, from tip-off to final buzzer, we kept shaking our heads in disbelief. How could three officials, all on the same night, get so many calls just flat-out wrong? We don't know, but they did.

The Mystics lost to the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Fever, 82-70. 12 points ties the largest loss margin for Washington this season. But make no mistake, this was a much closer game, despite the final score. The Mystics logged 40 minutes of intense, competitive basketball. But sometimes, going 5 on 8, it's hard to play your best game.

For the third game in a row, Lindsey Harding led the team in scoring, with 17 points -- plus 6 assists, 5 boards, 2 steals and 1 block! She's playing like a WNBA All-Star even if she was passed over for a spot on this season's ASG roster. Crystal Langhorne and Alana Beard also finished in double figures, wih 15 and 13 points, respectively.

There's no denying the Fever are a very good team. Before losing to Connecticut on Sunday, they had won 11 in a row. To their credit, they hit some big 3-pointers when they needed to and made their free throws down the stretch. All Star Tamika Catchings (named after St. Tamika, Patron Saint of Basketball Officials) scored a game-high 28 points and hit all 14 of her free throw attempts. (FYI to the fans who reported a burning smell emanating from the tunnel leading to the officials' locker room: that was nothing to worry about. BasketCases' sources have confirmed that it was simply Cameron, Kevin and Marat -- tonight's referees -- lighting votive candles as they prayed to St. Tamika before the game and during half-time.)

With tonight's loss, the Mystics are again at .500, with a record of 7-7. Fortunately, they don't have long to wait for another chance to get back to a winning percentage. The Chicago Sky (including Kristi Toliver) make their second appearance of the season at the Phone Booth this Thursday at 7 PM for a nationally-televised game being shown on ESPN2.

Between now and then, the BasketCases are going to light some votive candles of their own, praying that Cameron, Kevin and Marat are occupied elsewhere Thursday evening.


At 11:33 PM, Anonymous BetsyInDc said...

Don't worry BC's...while you politely bite your lip over the officiating most of the time, I'm making up for you by complaining on and on.....but tonight even I'm speechless on how bad this was. It was B.A.D. I don't even know where to start. The only good thing was the Verizon Center operators seem to have developed a sense of humor because of the sound effect they played after each foul call....a flushing toilet. That about sums it up.

At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that I've never before been hoarse from booing, until last night.

The only thing positive I could say about the officiating is that they seem to have a fairly consistent policy for makeup calls. If they really blew it, they frequently gave a bonus makeup call.

As for the play last night - can anyone explain why our point guard was slashing to the basket instead of our All-Star shotting guard?

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The description of 5 on 8 feels really spot on to me. It was so confusing they couldn't explain their own calls to the announcer in the arena because it seems we were often not even told what the call was!! Those of us close to the court, at least in my section were really giving the officials what for. Indiana is a good team and did not any help with those phantom calls. My highlight though was seeing Coach Stringer. Great ovation for her. But those officials.....arrrrrgh!

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Stevo said...

The officials never allowed the Mystics to get into any Rhythm due to a whistle here, a whistle there, and whistle every damn where!!!! Our point gaurd was slashing to the basket, becuase no one esle would.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would have been an excellent opportunity for Donna O. to see how bad her officials are, except that she doesn't actually watch the games she attends.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until last night, I thought the officiating actually had improved this season. But hardly a minute passed before it became apparent that this game was in for some baaaaad refereeing. I have never heard the crowd boo the referees so long and so loud. We may have lost the game even with good officiating, but we'll never know, will we? I hope Donna O. was paying attention.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the slashing to the basket: I have noticed that Alana will stop slashing when she sees that the refs aren't going to call fouls when she is being brutalized by opponents on the way to the basket. who can blame her? I sure don't. Why should she get beat up and no calls while Catch gets to walk to the free throw line simply because an opponent breathed on her?

Catch plays very rough and walks right up to the edge of playing dirty. Yet her opponents get called simply because she ran past them with the ball in her hand. It really makes you scratch your head. Maybe St Tamika Patron Saint of officials does have a hand in it.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all the above; it seemed to me that one official (the gentleman with the bald head) was a 'bad call' standout. His calls seemed to sometimes amaze his fellow refs. Can anyone tell me if they know who I mean, and what his name is?

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know exactly who you mean.. His name is Kevin........

At 3:30 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

His full name is Kevin Sparrock (number 49).

-- BC
PS: We forgot to mention that yesterday was Tamika Catchings' birthday. She certainly got plenty of gifts!

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those were the worst refs ever. When the Indiana coach was on the court, and the crowd all yelled at the dark haird guy, he refused to turn to notice her. I guess he is on their payroll. Can the Mystics put in a formal complaint about last nights refs?


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