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WNBA says Nneka Ogwumike’s 4th-quarter shot shouldn’t have counted

October 9, 2016 - Minneapolis, MN, USA - Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) releases the game winner just before the buzzer while defended by Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore (23) in Game 1 of the WNBA Championship series on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn (Photo by Jeff Wheeler/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
Jeff Wheeler/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

The WNBA issued a statement Friday afternoon indicating that Nneka Ogwumike’s shot late in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s WNBA Final between the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx should not have counted due to a shot clock violation.

The statement came from Renee Brown, the WNBA’s Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations: “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.”

The shot in question gave the Sparks a 73-71 lead late in the fourth quarter. Officials signaled for a review following the shot, but the play was never actually reviewed. The Lynx tied the game with a Seimone Augustus jumper on the following possession, but the Sparks still ended up winning the game and the championship on an Ogwumike bucket in the final seconds.

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve spoke out on the officiating blunder after the game: ”It’s not enough just to apologize and send out a memo that they got something wrong, OK?” Reeve said. “These players are so invested, and something must be done about the officiating in this league. Because it is not fair to these great players that we have.”

Obviously, we’ll never know how the game would have turned out had the proper call been made on Ogwumike’s shot, but in a close game that had 24 lead changes and 11 ties, the shot certainly had a major impact on the outcome.

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