The UConn women are headed to their 13th straight Final Four after defeating Baylor on Monday night, with the game coming down to a controversial last-second no-call on a likely foul. And somehow, LeBron James has become a central figure in the debate surrounding the uncalled foul.
Why? And how? It started with James tweeting his reaction to the no-call. A reporter then asked UConn head coach Geno Auriemma about James' comment, and Auriemma wasn't having it.
Auriemma uses James to defend win
The play in question is definitely worth the hubbub it's produced. With the seconds ticking down into the single digits and UConn up by one, Baylor's Dijonai Carrington attempted a mid-range jumper with two UConn defenders right in her face. One of them pretty clearly fouled her, but the refs didn't call a thing.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 30, 2021
James was watching and tweeted his disbelief that the refs didn't call that a foul.
Cmon man!!! That was a FOUL!! #ncaaW Baylor vs UConn. 🤦🏾♂️
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 30, 2021
UConn closed it out for a 69-67 win, keeping their Final Four streak alive, but that no-call was going to be the story of the game. Auriemma was asked about it during his postgame news conference, with the reporter mentioning James' response. Auriemma took that and ran with it.
In short, Auriemma said that the result of a basketball game is more than just the final play, and used James to illustrate that point. Every decision that every player and referee makes has an impact on the game — for example, there were probably other instances of fouls not being called when they should have — but the final play is being focused on because it's the last thing everyone saw.
What does LeBron have to do with that? Nothing really, beyond him being a basketball player and tweeting his opinion. He didn't ask to be included in this debate, but at least Auriemma was correct: James has never tried to give a win back because a late foul wasn't called on the losing team.
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