Aces’ Laimbeer miffed after timeout calls ignored

Sep 18, 2019


CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was nearly another fantastic finish for the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA playoffs on Tuesday night, but coach Bill Laimbeer was not pleased with the officials afterward.

Laimbeer said he made multiple requests for a timeout to set up a last shot against the Washington Mystics, but it wasn’t granted.

Aces guard Kelsey Plum took the shot to end the game, but it missed as she fell down. Washington forward Elena Delle Donne made some contact with Plum, appearing to run into her, but no foul was called — and the top-seeded Mystics held on for a 97-95 victory in Game 1 of the teams’ WNBA semifinal series at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.

The “was it a foul?” question was on a lot of viewers’ minds afterward, but Laimbeer was more upset about the timeout situation.

“I was standing next to the referee by design; as soon as they missed a shot, I would be yelling, ‘Time out! Time out! Time out!'” he said. “They missed the shot, we got the rebound, I yelled it five times. And she even looked at me when I was yelling — and made a conscious decision not to call a timeout.

“I don’t understand why. I think the league may need a little bit of an investigation to understand why that timeout wasn’t called. ESPN has to have it … I’m screaming five times, ‘Time out! Time out! Time out!’ It’s unfortunate; it didn’t cost us the game, but it cost us getting a good shot.”

On Sunday, the Aces won their second-round, single-elimination game 93-92 over Chicago after Dearica Hamby’s steal and long 3-pointer that she launched as if it were a desperation shot — even though there was still nearly 8 seconds left in the game.

Hamby acknowledged she lost track of the clock. But what would have been a big blunder turned into a great play because the shot went in.

Had Plum’s shot gone in Tuesday, it would have been a tie game going to overtime. Or if a foul had been called, she would have gone to the line to try to tie it. And if the shot had gone in and a foul had been called, Plum would have had a chance to win it. But none of that happened, and the Mystics breathed a sigh of relief.

Plum blamed herself after the game, saying she should have called timeout. But Laimbeer said it still came down to the Aces not being granted a timeout when he asked for it.

“I don’t know if she was fouled or not,” Laimbeer said of Plum. “I just know in the last couple seconds of the game, weird stuff happened. We have to understand why weird stuff happened.”

The Mystics host Game 2 of the series on Thursday (ESPN2, 8:30 p.m. ET).

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