Officials’ Ruling Leaves A Black Eye

By Richard Kent
Updated: February 12, 2008

CONNECTICUT — They try really hard. The powers that be in women’s college basketball want to make it right. They want more males to watch the game. They want bigger arenas.

They want more interest in the NCAA’s. But they have a big problem. Officiating. It is as bad as it gets in this game. Sometimes it looks like high school refs could do a better job.

Case in point. Rutgers got taken to the cleaners at Thompson-Bolling Arena Monday night. Tennessee won a game when there was no game left. The clock stopped with 0.2 seconds the clock stopped.

Impossible you say. No very possible. And while that very clock was stopped Rutgers was called for a foul. Nicky Anosikie stepped to the line and made two free throws and the game was over.Tennessee won 59-58.

Give Candace Parker credit. She had 27 points and was far and away the best player on the court. But that doesn’t mean that Tennessee was the best team. Rutgers guard Epiphanny Prince put on quite a show with 21 points. All for naught. Essence Carson was tough as was Matee Ajavon.

The refs took a look at the replay. What did they see.they saw a foul but they didn’t see the clock stopped. Was it because it was a home game for Tennessee and the Lady Vols never lose at home?

Who knows but these refs were not going to let Tennessee lose. Five Rutgers players had four fouls. That doesn’t happen too often.

The NCAA knows that officiating is a problem in the women’s game. And it has been taking corrective action. But that corrective action is too little too late for Rutgers.

Would the outcome have been different at the Rutgers Athletic Center?

Of course it would have been because the clock would have run.

So what do we have in the women’s game right now? Tennessee will be back as No. 1 and UConn will slip to No. 2. The Lady Huskies and the Big East also got hurt by this loss.

Rutgers will almost certainly lose a top seed in the NCAA Tournament when they are clearly one of the best four teams in the country. UConn doesn’t play Tennessee this year because the Lady Vols dropped them.

Too bad for them. They would have been able to play UConn at home this year with the best player in the country, with the loudest crowd and yes with the best clock operator.

Oh, what an advantage.