By Carl Adamec
STORRS, Conn. — Big East assistant commissioner for women’s basketball officiating Barb Jacobs watched rather silently, except for some words with Penn State coach Coquese Washington, as the University of Connecticut and Penn State faced off at Gampel Pavilion Thursday night.
There was enough noise from coaches, players, and the announced crowd of 8,072 to make up for it.
Thirty-eight fouls — 22 on the Lady Lions — were called by officials Barbara Jo Smith, Bryan Enterline, and Jesse Dickerson in the second-ranked Huskies’ 67-52 win over No. 10 Penn State. Imagine if the Lady Lions had opted to foul in the final minute to lengthen the game.
“I expected to come in here and the game to be competitive,” Washington said. “I didn’t think the referees called the game like there were two Top 10 teams playing on the floor and I think that’s unfortunate. I don’t think the fans and anybody watching on TV got to see the kind of basketball that both teams are capable of playing because of the way the game was called and because of the physical play. And that’s unfortunate.”
And Washington wasn’t even hit with a technical foul. That honor went to UConn’s Geno Auriemma with 19:27 left after a touch foul on center Stefanie Dolson.
Enterline and Dickerson, along with Dee Kantner, officiated Wednesday night’s game in South Bend between No. 3 Baylor and fifth-ranked Notre Dame.
“Maybe they were suffering jet lag, I don’t know,” Auriemma said. “I just think we have some real issues in women’s basketball and unless they get addressed, you’re going to see more of these games and that’s not fair.”
The first whistle came three seconds into the game and the tone was set. Eight fouls were called before the first media timeout.
Auriemma picked up the technical, his first of the season, 33 seconds into the second half. At one point he seemed on the brink of picking up a second technical foul but was pulled away from the officials by associate head coach Chris Dailey. Auriemma’s last ejection came in a game against Kentucky on Nov. 24, 1999.
Ironically, his point guard that night — Sue Bird — was sitting behind the UConn bench Thursday night.
“I did threaten one of the officials. I said I really do want to get thrown out,” Auriemma said. “They just said, ‘No you’re not,’ and walked away. They knew I wasn’t serious but it’s just unfortunate. Everybody saw the game so I don’t need to comment on it.”
Four Penn State starters finished with at least four fouls with leading scorer Maggie Lucas fouling out. UConn leading scorer Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also fouled out.