DiJonai Carrington first got hit on her elbow, then again in the face before falling hard to the floor with Baylor down by one with one second to go in the River Walk Region final against top-seeded UConn.
Carrington’s shot came up well short after the contact with two defenders. But no free throws were forthcoming, since no foul was called against the Huskies, who advanced to their 13th consecutive women’s NCAA Final Four with a 69-67 win.
“I personally don’t see it as a controversial call,” Carrington said, when asked about the non-call. “I’ve seen the replay, and one girl fouled me in my face and one girl fouled me in my arm. So, at that point you can’t do anything else.”
It was a very physical game with 30 combined fouls called and many more not called, including the one at the end.
UConn (28-1) added a free throw in the final second after No 2 seed Baylor (28-3), the champion in the last NCAA Tournament played two years ago, committed a foul. Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey said afterward that she had still shots and video from two different angles showing the multiple fouls against Carrington, who was defended by Aaliyah Edwards and Olivia Nelson-Ododa.
When asked for an explanation from the referees, the NCAA said the question was outside of the scope of what the officials talk about. While the refs weren’t talking others were.
Even LeBron James agreed with Carrington and Mulkey. “Cmon man!!! That was a FOUL!!,” James tweeted.
Former Connecticut All-American Swin Cash agreed with James that her former squad got away with one tweeting: “I love my Huskies but yeah they missed that foul…. whew child," sy het gese.
The lack of a whistle on the play was what everyone wanted to talk about. Though there was no explanation from the refs.
Carrington also went on Twitter to more express her frustration, with a post that read, “You can’t swallow your whistle when the game is on the line.”
After Carrington made two free throws with 19 seconds left to get Baylor within 68-67, Christyn Williams missed two free throws for UConn before the Lady Bears called timeout. They set up a final play with two options, the first being All-American forward NaLyssa Smith and then Carrington, who finished with 22 punte.
'[NaLyssa] got fouled posting up and I got fouled driving,” Carrington said. “Nothing we could really do about that situation in particular. But, ya know, turn the page.”
When Mulkey was asked about the non-call, and a reporter then said she was surprised there was no foul, the coach responded, “Then write it like that. You don’t need a quote from me.”
UConn coach Geno Auriemma said everyone has to live with the call or non-call by the officials.
“The bottom line is the officials did what they’re going to do. And if they would have said it was a foul, I would be on the other end going, you can’t make that call and make that call a foul,” Auriemma said. “So it is what it is. I’m not going to sit here and apologize for it. And if people are going to want to talk about that the rest of the week; you’re welcome to do that. It’s not going to change the outcome.”