Officiating in the WNBA

Every team has problems with the officials. It is the nature of basketball to question a referee's calls. A ref's job is to be objective and consistent. It's often said that good refs are invisible- you don't even notice they are on the court.

This past WNBA season, I have seen so many atrociously called games, I've felt compelled to write about it. For the first time, I feel as though the level of play in the WNBA is both entertaining and good basketball. Games are normally fun to watch; especially the playoff games.

But the officials have sucked the entertainment value from many of the games and turned them into whistle-fests. Example: In the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals NY Liberty vs. Atlanta Dream, one player on Atlanta went to the free throw line 22 times in a single game. Are you kidding me? That has to be a joke. I have seen officials cost teams game this season in the WNBA. That has to stop.

If the level of play continues to rise in the league, the level of officiating must also rise. It seems as though today's WNBA officials (and yes, I am generalizing here, there are many great refs in the league), cannot keep up with the speed of the game, even with a 3-man crew. They don't allow the players to be physical and my biggest pet peeve: they are not consistent.

If the WNBA is going to continue to thrive - and yes, this past season indicate a bit of a resurgence in ticket sales league-wide, then the league needs to take a good, hard look at the officials and how they are trained. The officials also need to understand the game is for entertainment and blowing the whistle less offers a smoother game, and a more entertaining one, for fans.

So, Donna Orender, CEO of the WNBA - are you listening? Spend some time working on a better training protocol for your refs in the off season. Most of the WNBA officials move over to NCAA Division I hoops when the WNBA season ends. Maybe some of these refs should be allowed to work NBA games- after all if they can keep up with an NBA game, they can keep up with a Liberty game.

The views expressed below are purely my opinion on what I have watched this season in the WNBA.


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