The WNBA acknowledged Friday morning that referees made a mistake by not reviewing Nneka Ogwumike's basket with 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter that gave Los Angeles a 73-71 lead over the Lynx in Game 5.
The Sparks went on to win 77-76 when Ogwumike scored on a rebound with 3.1 seconds to play.
The statement, issued by Renee Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations, said: "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 instant replay rules."
Referees also missed a call in the final minute of Game 4 in the Lynx' favor that helped them hold their lead for the victory that led to Thursday's Game 5.
After the game, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve opened her postgame media conference with criticism of WNBA officiating. You can watch that video here.
From the Associated Press:
WNBA rules state in the final two minutes of a game, plays are only reviewable immediately. Earlier in the game, time can elapse and plays can still be reviewed. In college basketball, officials are given more time to review calls in the final two minutes.
"It was reviewable at the time when she shot it," Reeve said. "The referees at that point didn't think anything was wrong. They didn't understand it was the end of the clock. They didn't hear the shot clock. When they put the ball in play, the play is no longer reviewable."
Arenas switched shot clocks midseason. There were some issues when they were changed about how audible the horn was when it reached zero.
This wasn't the first year officiating mistakes happened in playoff games. Last season, in the Western Conference finals, the Lynx were aided by a foul with 1.5 seconds left in a tie game against Phoenix. The league acknowledged the call should never have been made.
"It's unfortunate we're having this discussion," Reeve said. "The number of people that have contacted us and said this shot was no good, it's unfortunate. I mean, I don't know what happens from there. Maybe they still win. I don't know. That's why I don't want to take anything away from LA."