LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Fresno State women’s basketball team lost in heartbreaking fashion in Wednesday night’s Mountain West Women’s Championship game, falling to Boise State 80-to-76 in overtime, after the Bulldogs were victimized by a controversial call with less than a second to go on the clock.
The championship game had pretty much everything — big shots, high drama, and unfortunately, a strange ending, when the Bulldogs were assessed a technical foul in the final seconds, for calling a timeout they didn’t have.
Who exactly called the timeout remains a mystery?
“I’m not sure. I’m not sure, still a little bit of a blur to me,” responded Fresno State head coach Jaime White, when asked “who called the timeout?” at the postgame press conference.
Here’s what happened.
With the Bulldogs trailing by two in the final seconds of overtime, they missed a free throw intentionally, and junior Aly Gamez appeared to make a game-tying shot with .9 seconds left.
“When the shot went in, we were obviously on a high,” said junior Maddi Utti. “We thought we tied the game again.”
But referee Lisa Jones waved off the tying shot, later saying in a statement released by the Mountain West, that she whistled the play dead because a Fresno State player on the court “audibly” requested a timeout before the shot. Audible timeouts are allowed by the rules.
“We missed the free throw that we needed, get the tip back in,” said freshman Haley Cavinder. “But at that point, it wasn’t in our control.”
Because in this case, Fresno State was out of timeouts, so a technical foul was called on the Bulldogs, and Utah State was granted two free throws and possession of the ball, which essentially clinched the game for the Broncos.
“That’s what’s hard about it, that play kind of decided the game,” said Cavinder.
It should be noted that audio from a replay on the CBS Sports Network, which aired the game Wednesday night, showed that somebody yelled “timeout.” It’s just unclear who said it, and where it came from.