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Napheesa Collier welcomes possible fine for criticizing refs: ‘Worth it’

(Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

Napheesa Collier knows she likely has a fine coming from the WNBA.

After the Minnesota Lynx’s 90-81 win over the Dallas Wings on Thursday, Collier took aim at the refereeing in the game. Both teams got into foul trouble, with the Lynx committing 20 to the Wings’ 18. Four players nearly fouled out of the game, including Minnesota’s Jessica Shepard and Dallas’ Teaira McCowan.

“I don’t talk about this often, but the officiating was awful,” Collier told reporters after the game. “It was great as a team to fight through adversity despite those two reds. … It’s really frustrating when it’s not consistent on both ends.”

When her husband, Alex Bazzell, tweeted that he knew Collier was “about to get fined,” she replied, “Worth it.”

Collier isn’t the first WNBA player to call out the officiating this season. Earlier in August, Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale was one of two players ejected from a game against the Chicago Sky, as part of a testy weekend that resulted in one suspension and seven fines for players. Afterward, she questioned the decision to eject her and called attention to the quality of refereeing in the WNBA this season.

“[The referee] was looking for something. I just watched it back a million times,” Ogunbowale said. “I don’t know what’s going on this year with the refs, but that was the worst call I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Mystics players Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud have also expressed their frustration with the officiating. Delle Donne has said that referees treat her “like a rookie with calls,” while Cloud called the referees’ inability to do their jobs “f–king bulls–t.”

In June, Atlanta Dream coach Tanisha Wright questioned the officiating in one of her team’s games.

“We’re expected to play at a high level every single night… The officials need to be able to rise to that same occasion. They should be held to that same standard,” Wright said. “They’re going to fine me for this, but I’m challenging them to raise their standards … Officiating needs to get better, period.”

WNBA All-Star Game MVP and Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd has also said that the league and referees need to do a better job at protecting the players.

“It’s not just us. Every single team has said something about the refs,” she said. “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.”