The Seattle Storm lost a heartbreaker on Thursday night, falling in overtime to the Minnesota Lynx, 99-97, despite a career-high 41 points from Jewell Loyd. A short time after the final buzzer, Loyd stepped to the podium for her postgame press conference and let out some of her frustration on a common target: the referees. 

Asked about how the Storm were able to get some of the Lynx in foul trouble -- both Diamond Miller and Lindsay Allen finished with five fouls -- Loyd took the opportunity to expound on the topic. Her comments are worth considering in full:

"I mean a foul is a foul. I'm actually surprised they actually called it. They miss a lot.

"To me it's more about player safety than just calling a foul. I got hit in the head three times. Even the last possession before I turned the ball over, I mean I got hit in the head and the arm. The refs say, 'I don't see it.' So what are you watching? That's your job is to make sure that players are protected and to call a foul a foul.

"This is not the first time we've talked about trying to get contact and fouls. They're fouling me. It's not a shock that they got vie fouls. They're fouls. I'm frustrated as a player because I've seen it across the league. I have refs telling me that 'oh, I didn't like it, I'm not going to call a foul' before. That's bias.

"Protect the players. It's not just us. Every single team has said something about the refs. That tells you that something is going wrong in that department. You expect high-level players, we expect high-level refs. We're not getting that every single night."

The specific play Loyd mentioned on the possession prior to her late turnover in overtime was indeed a foul. Napheesa Collier's arms are not straight up and hit Loyd as she tries to elevate toward the basket. But that was just one missed call in one game; that happens all the time. 

Loyd's broader points about referees, accusing them of "bias" and not protecting the players are much more notable. Even if they only arose out of irritation about the loss, this isn't the first time that Loyd and others have made damning critiques about the officiating this season. 

Back in May, Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne was fined for comments she made about how refs were treating her. "I'm just going to say it. I'm so sick of being treated like a rookie with calls," Delle Donne said. "If I get fined — whatever. It's unbelievable. I've been through too many back surgeries to — whatever. I just keep attacking, in the end I hope that because I can elevate and jump over people, you can see that my arm is getting hit. I just keep attacking and hoping that it'll change."

In recent weeks, there have been a number of high-profile incidents regarding the officials. 

On June 20, there were 10 technical fouls handed out in the Dallas Wings' win over the Atlanta Dream, a record for a regular season game. "I definitely have never seen anything like it," Wings coach Latricia Trammell said. "We'll turn some clips in, that's usually how we do it. [Wings president and CEO] Greg [Bibb] will get some clarity on certain parts of the game. We've just got to continue to keep our composure no matter what call is made and just continue to move forward."

On June 23, Loyd took to her Twitter feed to relay a similar quote to the one she shared on Thursday, allegedly from a ref: "'I didn't like it so I didn't call the foul' -Ref. siri play in my feelings by drake," she wrote. That was the morning after the team's loss to the Indiana Fever. 

On June 24, Dream coach Tanisha Wright went off on the refs following the team's defeat to the New York Liberty: 

"Officiating has been notoriously bad all year. I've never sat up here and blamed officials and I won't blame the officials. But we're expected to play at a high level every single night. These athletes, on both sides, put in a lot of work to perfect their craft and the officials need to rise to that same occasion. They should be held to that same standard. This league has a standard, and they need to rise to that standard. Throughout the season so far, the amount of challenges coaches are winning on stupid plays, on just simple out of bounds plays, are absolutely ridiculous.

"They're going to fine me for this, but I'm challenging [the officials] to raise their standards. Their standards need to rise. They cannot come into these games and not be at the be at level that need to be at, especially when these athletes are playing like they're playing. Officiating needs to get better, period. There's no ifs, ands or buts about that. They need to do a better job. I'm not just saying that for my team. I've been in however many games so far, it's been for both sides. 

"Any time I can send in clips and they can agree with eight out of 20, that's almost 50% of the clips -- 'yes, agreed that should a call, yes, agreed.' And that's just on one side of the basketball, that's not on the other team's, that's just on one side of the basketball, then that means they are not at a high level. They need to raise their standards. They need to hold themselves to a higher standard."

The criticism from the likes of Loyd, Delle Donne and Wright goes beyond the normal complaints about tough calls. Some of the biggest names in the game are directly calling into question the quality and integrity of the officials, and are starting to do so on a more frequent basis. 

Players and coaches are fed up with how games are being officiated and appear to be nearing a breaking point. At some point soon, the issue is going to have to be addressed by the league -- even if it's just internally -- or the protestations are only going to grow louder and more forceful.