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Chicago Sky coach James Wade sounds off on officiating after Game 2 loss

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chicago Sky coach James Wade sounded off on the officiating after the Sky dropped Game 2 of the WNBA Finals to the Phoenix Mercury, 91-86 in overtime.

When asked about the Mercury’s ability to slow down Kahleah Copper, who led all scorers with 21 points in the Sky’s Game 1 win, Wade pointed to the team’s lack of free throws despite their production in the paint Wednesday night.

“I mean, when you shoot four free throws in 45 minutes and you have 50 points in the paint, yeah, you can call it slow down,” he said. “I just think they played more physical, and I think they were allowed to. We shot four free throws. Four free throws. Call it what you will, I’ve never seen that ratio in a league game before. You score that many points in the paint, that means you’re attacking the basket, and you shoot four free throws.”

When asked whether the referees turned it into a “let-them-play” type of game, Wade said he had “never heard” of such a thing.

“I think when you attack the rim and you get fouled, it should be called,” he continued. “That’s it. I don’t understand what ‘let them play’ means. I’ve never heard that in a game. If they’re going to the free-throw line, we should.”

Wade isn’t the first coach to criticize the officiating during this year’s WNBA playoffs. New York Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said after the Liberty’s first-round loss to the Mercury that his team had gotten “the short end of the stick” during that game and all season.

“There were multiple plays where we didn’t just get calls, a free throw discrepancy … it was 18-7 tonight,” Hopkins said then. “If anyone wants to say it’s because we shoot a lot of 3s, well we outscored them in the paint 34-30. It’s not because we don’t go to the rim.”