Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve has denounced an “unacceptable” decision by Diana Taurasi in Tuesday’s 118-107 double-overtime loss to the Phoenix Mercury.
Reeve was furious at a no-call after Taurasi appeared to kick Lynx star Sylvia Fowles in the stomach with less than a minute remaining in that second overtime period – a move Reeve called of “flagrant”.
“It was very disappointing behavior,” Reeve said on her podcast, “The Cheryl Reeve Show,” on Wednesday. “Not surprising, of course, but disappointing.”
The contact came during a game in which Taurasi ran into the paint but had nowhere to go as Fowles was protecting the hoop. Taurasi then leaned over Fowles — who is the WNBA’s all-time rebounding leader — for a jumping back, and her yellow sneaker appeared to kick Fowles in the gut.
Taurasi has never even been whistled for a foul. The Mercury was trailing by nine at the time.
As Fowles was doubled over in pain, Taurasi approached a referee with her arms outstretched, seemingly complaining about the play.
“It was unacceptable,” Reeve said. “More than anything, it’s disappointing that Taurasi is doing this. But we said this: whether you are friends or not, when you are in the field, Taurasi does not treat you as a friend.
“There have been several situations where I’m like, I’m going, ‘And you say you’re friends?!'” Reeve later added. “Like, you could ever do that stuff to a friend?”
Reeve said in this case she blames the officials.
“This cannot go unpunished. It was so blatant. I will wait for a decision on this. It was very disappointing behavior. Not surprising, of course, but disappointing. There will be ramifications to this kick.
Taurasi finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Fowles recorded a double-double with 14 points and rebounds apiece.
Taurasi is known for her fiery demeanor on the pitch, which has already earned her six technical fouls this season. The 40-year-old is one foul away from an $800 fine and an automatic one-game suspension. Taurasi is yet to commit a flagrant foul this season.
In the Mercury’s next game against the Mystics on Thursday, Taurasi appeared to push Washington’s Ariel Atkins to the ground as she caught a pass. Atkins clutched his head in pain after the play.
This time, Taurasi was whistled for a foul – but not flagrant.
The Lynx play the Fever on Friday. Phoenix will host the Dream on Sunday.
New York Post