Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve unloaded on WNBA officials after her team’s 77-76 loss in Game 5, criticizing them for not calling a shot clock violation on Los Angeles with 1 minute, 12 seconds left.
The score was tied 71-71 when the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike hit a turnaround jumper, putting the Sparks ahead. Reeve said the shot clock had expired and that it was a reviewable play. The officials signaled for a review but did not look at the video, then put the ball into play.
Reeve said the referees “didn’t think anything was wrong” and did not hear the shot clock. The controversy came three days after the WNBA issued a statement admitting an officiating error in Sunday’s Game 4, when the Lynx should have been called for an eight-second violation late in their 85-79 victory.
“It’s not fair to the players,” Reeve shouted at the beginning of her postgame news conference. “It’s not enough just to apologize and send out a memo that they got something wrong. These players are so invested, and something must be done about the officiating in this league, because it isn’t fair to these great players.”
Reeve was asked what could be done to improve the officiating, and she was similarly blunt.
“I don’t get paid enough to have to do somebody else’s job, too,” she said. “Just get the simple things right. I’m not taking anything away from L.A. But it’s unfortunate we’re even having this discussion.”
Sparks star Candace Parker won her first WNBA championship on Thursday night.
Then she spoke with someone who won five NBA titles.
“I mean, I had a moment with Magic Johnson after the game where I was like, ‘You did this five times?’ ” Parker said. “ ‘I mean, like you felt this feeling five times? This is how it is?’ And I mean, the journey is difficult, but once you get here and you feel this feeling, you want to do it again.”
Parker, 30, was named Finals MVP. The No. 1 pick in the 2008 WNBA draft dedicated this championship to Pat Summitt, her college coach at Tennessee who died in June at age 64.
Both teams played eight players. Only one player off the bench scored more than three points.
Sparks reserve Chelsea Gray continued her strong play by making five of nine shots, including a three-pointer, for 11 points. She scored nine of them in a stretch from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth, helping Los Angeles build a lead. She also had one steal.
• Lynx center Janel McCarville, who has been suffering from back spasms, did not play in Game 5. She went down in Game 3 and was helped off the floor. She appeared in three games in the Finals, making two of four shots for four points and grabbing two rebounds.
• Lynx center Sylvia Fowles set a league record for most career double-doubles in the Finals. She had three in the first four games of the series, giving her seven in 13 Finals games. Fowles eclipsed teammate Rebekkah Brunson and former Indiana star Tamika Catchings, who had five double-doubles each in Finals.
• This was the last game for the Lynx at Target Center for a while. Next year they will play at Xcel Energy Center while their regular home is shut down. Target Center will close after the Timberwolves’ season ends to renovate the lower bowl and replace the scoreboard.