The NCAA women’s basketball committee is hitting Baylor where it hurts. And I don’t mean the one-game suspension of Kim Mulkey the next time the Bears make the NCAA Tournament, which will be next March. The NCAA also is fining Baylor, in the way of withholding the Bears’ per diem for the regional round in Oklahoma City, which will be a few thousand dollars.
Not a lot of money, really, but getting into a school’s pocketbook makes it take notice. Much more than Mulkey not getting to coach a first-round romp of East Tennessee State or somebody.
Mulkey, you might remember, went way over the top last spring when her top-ranked Bears were upset 82-81 by Louisville in the regional semifinals in Oklahoma City.
With Baylor trailing by one point, Baylor guard Odyssey Sims was called for charging with 16.7 seconds left in the game. Mulkey ran along the sideline, began removing her green jacket and had to be physically restrained by her assistant coaches. After the game, Mulkey was composed but defiant. She urged reporters to ask about officials Melissa Barlow, Laura Morris and Frank Steratore.
“I’ll be glad to answer any referee question you want to ask me, because I don’t mind getting fined, so ask me,” Mulkey said. “Now is the time to ask me, OK?”
So someone did. “I thought the game started out way too physical, way too physical,” Mulkey said. “I thought that all three of them, if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game.”
Mulkey also railed about a later foul call on Brittney Griner. “I thought the two critical calls at the end of the game were really bad,” Mulkey said.
By the way, the NCAA didn’t necessarily disagree with Mulkey. None of the three officials worked another game the rest of the tournament.