Sun Belt apologizes to Troy for refs' late blunder in loss

The Sun Belt Conference apologized to the Troy women's basketball team after officials didn't see that Old Dominion had six players on the court for a basket-scoring play in the final seconds of their tournament quarterfinal game Friday in Pensacola, Florida. ODU won 86-83.

"I apologize to head coach Chanda Rigby, the Troy women's basketball student-athletes and the Troy community for the manner in which the end of the game was officiated," Sun Belt Conference commissioner Keith Gill said in a statement. "No one wants a game to end this way -- especially during the postseason."

The No. 5-seeded Monarchs led 84-83 with 4.7 seconds left and were inbounding the ball. Along with the inbounds passer, Taleah Washington, there were five other ODU players on the court, which the television announcer pointed out on the broadcast. Washington passed to teammate Amari Young, who was unguarded and made a layup with 2.1 seconds left.

Troy's Jada Walton attempted a tying 3-point shot, which was blocked by Young to end the game.

The Sun Belt later released a statement confirming the mistake. The league said that once the violation occurred when ODU inbounded the ball, Troy -- still down by one -- should have been awarded two free throws, followed by a throw-in at the point of interruption.

However, the violation is not included on the list of calls a coach may appeal using replay and had to be recognized before the officials left the visual confines of the playing court. Because it wasn't, there was no way to overturn the result.

"Things happen. But I don't agree with the fact that it wasn't correctable," Rigby said. "Back in the day before technology, maybe this call would stand true once the officials leave the floor. With reviewable evidence, everyone is going to see it. I don't want the officials to be shown in a bad light. I wanted to give them a chance to correct it. Just like how I wanted my players to have a chance."

The league said the three officials would not work any more games at the Sun Belt women's tournament. The conference also said it would meet with the NCAA Women's Basketball Rules Committee to review and assess the list of appealable calls using replay moving forward.

Troy Athletics also made a statement, saying, "We are incredibly proud of the fight and the determination shown by our women's basketball program in today's game. It is extremely unfortunate that a mistake by the officials marred the outcome of this game. We hurt for our players and coaches.

"We appreciate the leadership of the Sun Belt Conference for their swift action and acknowledgement of this mistake."