Cloud calls out WNBA officials after controversial no-call originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Two weeks out from the start of the WNBA playoffs, with the Washington Mystics on the cusp of gaining homecourt advantage for the first round, any call determining the outcome of the game could be consequential to a postseason run.
That's why Mystics point guard Natasha Cloud was so upset when the officials made a controversial no-call at the buzzer of their game against the Los Angeles Sparks. She took to Twitter and flat out called out the officiating on Sunday.
Attempting to complete a comeback win, Washington was down by three with four seconds to go. Cloud was attacking at full speed on Sparks' Jordin Canada and used a spin move to create separation in direction of the basket. Clock winding down, Cloud (a 31.0% 3-point shooter in 2022) elevated for the game-tying shot and got hit by Canada as she was releasing the ball.
The official standing right behind Cloud had a great perspective on the play and waved off the shot. No foul call, no attempt to go to the free throw line to tie the game. Cloud could not believe it. Head coach Mike Thibault was insensed. The game was over.
Natasha Cloudâs attempt to tie the game was waved off by the referees, giving the Sparks a 79-76 win against the Mystics. pic.twitter.com/PvHRSZo7Em
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 7, 2022
“I’ve already racked up about $400 worth of fines today,” Cloud told the Washington Post postgame. “So let’s just get going.”
“But we shouldn’t even be letting it get to that point,” she continued. “So that’s the frustrating thing that we need to figure out within here.”
Her shock and irritation are understandable in the 79-76 loss at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Upon further Twitter review, however, it looks like the officials got the call right. There was no review in real time of the game.
re the cloud play: extremely close but refs made the right call the red lights were on before canada made contact pic.twitter.com/yMLvSz0kDb
— jack maloney (@jackmaloneycbs) August 7, 2022
No contact occurred before the clock hit 0.0.
More concerning for Washington should be how they got to that place. Washington is fifth in the standings and the Sparks were in a free fall, losing nine of their previous 11 games. Star player Liz Cambage left the team and Los Angeles is on the brink of elimination.
Still, the Mystics trailed for the majority of the contest. Shots weren't falling as they were 38.5% from the field. Elena Delle Donne was an abnormal 2-for-12. At one point Washington was down by as much as 13 points.
"I have some thoughts that I cannot share," Thibault said in his postgame press conference on the officiating. "I like my money."
"We lost an opportunity to win three straight and put ourselves in an interesting position now," Thibault said in his postgame press conference. "It's going to be tough on us on seeding."
Had Washington won, they would have had one more win over the Seattle Storm who currently reside in fourth place and are the final team with homecourt advantage in the WNBA playoffs. The Storm holds the tiebreaker over the Mystics as both teams enter the final week of the regular season.
“I don’t know what people want from us, but we can’t make those calls,” Cloud told The Post. “I’m having to get technicals in games simply because we’re not getting calls. So I want the ‘W’ to pay my $400.”