Officials say loss to South Dakota State should have been a Minnesota win

Paul Cordes

What should have been the Minnesota women’s basketball team’s 12th win of the season will remain a loss in the record book.

The Women’s Basketball Officiating Consortium, which are in charge of the officials in five conferences in the NCAA, acknowledged the misapplication of a rule in the Gophers’ Jan. 14 59-58 loss to South Dakota State.

As time expired, Jackrabbits freshman forward Maria Boever’s shot was incorrectly counted, giving South Dakota State the win.

The basket was initially waved off, the correct interpretation of the rule, before the referees once again went back to the monitor and re-ruled to count the basket because LED light around the backboard went on after the ball left Boever’s hand.

WBOC Coordinator for Officials Patty Broderick, who reviewed the case, cited NCAA Basketball Rule 2-5-2 B, which states the officials should use the monitor to determine if the ball “was released before the reading of 00.0 on the game clock.”

“With 00.0 on the game clock, the ball is absolutely in the South Dakota State player’s hand and that is what determines whether the shot is good or not good,” Broderick said.

Even though the botched call has been acknowledged by the WBOC, the call still stands because there is no appeals process and therefore when the officials leave the court, the score is final.

Minnesota coach Pam Borton said she was glad the mistake has been recognized but it does no good for her team.

“It doesn’t help us at all,” she said. “But I did think the process was timely and they were very apologetic and professional about it, but there was nothing they could do about it.”

At this point the biggest worry for the Gophers (11-7 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) is the effect the loss could have on their chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

Borton said she wants the NCAA to recognize the game should have been a Minnesota win.

“When they’re picking teams, there are a lot of things they can do as far as counting the game as a win, ignoring it completely and not allowing it to hurt our (Ratings Percentage Index),” she said, “But first we need to get ourselves in a position to be where we can be considered, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Broderick said the NCAA has been made aware of the officials’ mistake and disciplinary action is being taken against those officials.

Broderick declined to go into further detail about the action being taken, but in accordance with the WBOC’s procedure, the officials could be subject to censure, placement on probationary status, reduction, restriction or cancellation of assignments or revocation of the officials’ status with the conference.

“In my opinion,” she said, “the penalty suits the misapplication of the rule.”

Gophers freshman guard Brittany McCoy said the team is moving on and getting ready for tonight’s game against Illinois.

“We are just looking forward and trying to move on,” McCoy said. “We’ve put it behind us and we’re looking to turn it into motivation for us and bring alot of energy to Illinois.”

Minnesota has played and beat the Illini (13-4, 3-2) once already this season, 70-61 at Williams Arena on Dec. 31.

Borton said she is looking to take her balanced offensive attack to Champaign and despite the distractions of the decision, she is ready to move ahead.

“We have a big game against Illinois to prepare for,” she said. “Life isn’t always fair and we’ve focused our energy on our next game.”