WNBA admits officials missed late call in Game 4 of Finals

Sparks forward Candace Parker complains about a call to referee Roy Gulbeyan during the second half in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The WNBA admitted its officials missed an 8-second violation call in Game 4 of the Finals on Sunday night.

The league released a statement Monday saying that a call should have been made in the game that evened the best-of-five series, 2-2.

Minnesota led, 79-77, and had the ball with 26.1 seconds left after a turnover. The Lynx didn’t get the ball into the frontcourt in the required eight seconds.


“After reviewing postgame video, we have determined that with 0:17.7 remaining in regulation time, Minnesota released the ball for a pass from the backcourt and the ball was still in the backcourt when the shot clock turned to 0:16,” the statement said. “An 8-second violation should have been called on Minnesota. This play is not a trigger to review via instant replay.”

After the ball made it to the frontcourt, Rebekkah Brunson was fouled by Candace Parker and hit both free throws to give the Lynx a four-point lead with 12.5 seconds left. The Lynx went on to win the game, 85-79, and force a decisive Game 5 on Thursday night.

Los Angeles guard Kristi Toliver knew after the game that the officials missed that call.

“Absolutely not,” she said when asked whether Minnesota had gotten the ball over in time. “I think they forgot they had to get the ball over the line. But that’s life. We can’t leave it up to the officials to determine a series. We have to go take it, and that’s what we plan on doing in Game 5.”

Sparks Coach Brian Agler told the Associated Press in a phone interview Monday night that while he was happy the league reviewed the play, he didn’t want to dwell on it.

“Champions don’t make excuses. We had our opportunities,” he said.

It was the second consecutive year that Minnesota was involved in a blown call late in a playoff game.

Last year in the Western Conference finals, the Lynx benefited from a foul with 1.5 seconds left in a tie game against Phoenix.

The Mercury’s Noelle Quinn directed her inbounds pass to 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner. Maya Moore deflected that pass, gained control of the ball, began going upcourt, and official Amy Bonner blew the whistle with 1.5 seconds left in Game 2.

Moore hit one of two free throws to lift the Lynx to the victory ending the series. The WNBA admitted last year that a foul should not have been called.