Fri | May 24, 2019

Technical fouls are up this year in the WNBA

Published:Friday | August 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Technical fouls are up this year in the WNBA with more already called this season than last.

There were 92 technical fouls given to players before the All-Star break, 11 more than all of last season. Coaches have picked up another 30 technical fouls already with nearly 20 percent of the season left to play.

WNBA head of officiating Monty McCutchen said in a phone call Wednesday that it certainly wasn't a league-wide initiative to increase technicals this year.

"We haven't messaged a single time this year that we want more technicals or we have a problem that we have to take care of," McCutchen said. "I love the passion that our players in the WNBA provide their franchises, the fan base, and the basketball world at large."




McCutchen said he was at the Atlanta Dream game Tuesday night and there were three-to-five techs that could have been called that weren't. He also said the officials did a good job of calming situations in that game to avoid calling more technicals.

McCutchen, who is in his first season in charge of WNBA officiating, said in May that communication between officials and players was a major point of emphasis. He also said that quelling situations before they escalate was an important part of the officials' job.

"Our officials are doing their best," McCutchen said. "I do believe it's important that standards that have long been upheld, and created by our competition committee in past years, are indeed upheld. There is no desire to adjudicate passion out of our game."

Some players have a different viewpoint on that.

"Right now, in the league, I just see referees trying to soften the game," Dallas Wings centre Liz Cambage said on a conference call last month. "And you would never tech an NBA player up for flexing after making a move. I got a technical last week for a look at a referee. I don't understand why our emotion and our passion is being suppressed. We are women we are passionate and we are playing hard. Let us play our game and don't try to soften it."

The players' union has taken notice of the increase in techs. The league is playing a more compact schedule because of the FIBA women's basketball world cup in September, so the WNBA regular-season schedule is 19 days shorter than last year. The level of play is up and there is parity across the league, with few games separating teams in the playoff race. It seems every game matters more and that's led to heightened tension and intensity in most games.