Sports fans know that one play and one call can be the difference between a crushing defeat and a victory. When it happens in the playoffs, it makes the defeat even worse. Troy coach Chanda Rigby said a late missed call caused her team a shot at a historic upset over Texas A&M on Monday night.
The No. 15 seed Trojans ended up losing to the No. 2 seed Aggies in the NCAA women's basketball tournament, but not without drama down the stretch. With 4.5 seconds left, Texas A&M had an 82-80 lead and was inbounding the ball. Texas A&M's Kayla Wells' pass went off the fingertips of her teammate Destiny Pitts who then got possession of the ball and headed to the backcourt.
The officials ruled that she did not have possession of the ball in the frontcourt, so no over-and-back violation was called -- even though Pitts went into the backcourt.
Take a look at the play in question:
Here is the video & my take:— Kim Adams (@Kim_Adams1) March 23, 2021
There is no team control on the initial contact of the ball. I believe team control is established when the A&M player attempts to dribble the ball while still in the front court. She then crosses into backcourt.
That play lead to two free throws off of a foul that was committed to stop the clock. Pitts made both with just two seconds left, securing the win for A&M.
After the loss, Rigby did not mince words. She said she believed it was a missed backcourt violation call that cost her team a shot at history.
"It just looked like she touched it and it went backcourt. It just looked very evident that that happened. We were seeing if we could get the call corrected, but that's just not the way it went," Rigby said. "We had all the momentum at that point. If we would have gotten that call, I don't think there's any way we would have lost the game. I don't think the will of my players would have allowed us to lose."
Texas A&M's coach Gary Blair was less certain on his stance before seeing the replay.
"I didn't know if we had control of it. I think that's why [the referee] didn't call it. But I cannot say for sure," he said. "If she did have control of it, it was an over-and-back. If she didn't have control of it, it was a good call."
Rigby added that the potential missed backcourt violation call wasn't her only gripe with the refs. Her team was called for 25 fouls -- 12 more than Texas A&M.
"It seemed like we just kept getting called for foul after foul after foul," the coach said. "Our two most experienced players fouled out, and that made it tough. But we kept battling."