You probably missed this botched call because you were busy keeping up with all the madness in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
But the madness hasn’t been contained to just the men’s side of things.
On Friday afternoon, Tennessee took on Liberty in the first round of the women’s tournament, and for much of the first half, the score was close.
With Tennessee up 28-26 and just over four minutes remaining in the first half, freshman guard Anastasia Hayes dribbled the ball up the court and dished it out to Mercedes Russell, who was under the basket.
As she was fouled from behind, Russell put up a layup, and though it went through the rim, the ball failed to make it back down onto the court.
Yes, that’s right, the ball got stuck in the basket, where it remained until a Liberty player poked it up through the net.
One would think that the score should count. It’s not the player’s fault that the NCAA put new nets under the rims, and at least one of said nets didn’t work the way it should have.
But after conferring for a short time, the referees decided not to count the basket.
As noted by Deadspin, the ruling seemed to be a violation of the NCAA rulebook’s Rule 5, which states that “a goal is made when … a live ball that is not a throw-in enters the basket from above and remains in or passes through the basket.”
In this case, the ball passed through the basket, if one assumes that the rim is considered part of the basket.
And since the ball got caught, it definitely “remained in” the net.
The ESPN commentators broadcasting the game were not happy with the call, and neither was Tennessee coach Holly Warlick.
Had the refs gotten the call right, Russell would have had a chance for a three-point play due to the foul.
Instead, she shot two free throws, both of which she made.
And in the end, the call ended up not mattering, as Tennessee went on to clobber Liberty by a final score of 100-60.
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