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Controversial late-game foul on UConn's Aaliyah Edwards sparks outrage: 'I didn't get an explanation'

Controversial late-game foul on UConn's Aaliyah Edwards sparks outrage: 'I didn't get an explanation'

In the Final Four on Friday night, UConn trailed Iowa State 70-64 with 2:14 to play, a chance to get back into the national title game to face South Carolina. But the Huskies rallied with two stops and two scores. When KK Arnold stole the ball with nine seconds to play, UConn was only one shot behind for the win.

Instead, the Huskies never made that shot. After a UConn timeout, Aaliyah Edwards set up a pick on the wing for Paige Bueckers to fly out and possibly take the game-winning jumper, but Edwards was whistled for a moving screen with 3.9 seconds left. The Hawkeyes' turnover put the ball back on their side of the field, and the Huskies never got the ball back, losing 71-69.

β€œI didn't get an explanation,” Edwards said after the loss. β€œThere was no real time for an explanation. From my perspective, it was very clean.”

UConn coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies bench were immediately stunned, and social media erupted in their defense. Stars from the WNBA and NBA insisted that a referee couldn't make a ruling of that magnitude so late in the game, relying on the self-evident truth that a certain amount of contact must be allowed down the stretch.

In a season that has put the spotlight on women's college basketball officiating, many fans and basketball insiders have complained that the quality of officiating has not risen to the level of play on the court. This was another indication that the referees could not meet the moment.

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However, regardless of the risks of the call β€” which ended Edwards' college career on a moving screen β€” the reasoning behind the referee's decision is plausible. Edwards' legs are outside her shoulders, and she leans to her left as Gabby Marshall passes. It's a call that wouldn't have sparked much anger in the first quarter.

But in the fourth quarter, fans would rather see the players decide the game rather than the referees. But in fact, Edwards did.

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(Photo: C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Images via Getty Images)