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Sky coach James Wade says Aces star Liz Cambage was ‘protected by the refs’

Coach James Wade was furious after the Sky’s 100-85 loss to the Aces on Sunday. And he didn’t hold back his thoughts on how poor the referees called the game.

Sky coach James Wade was furious after the Sky’s 100-85 loss to the Aces on Sunday.
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Coach James Wade was furious after the Sky’s 100-85 loss to the Aces on Sunday. And he didn’t hold back his thoughts on how poor the referees called the game.

“That was one of the most ridiculous games that I’ve ever seen in my life,” Wade said.

Aces star Liz Cambage was at the center of the controversy. She was a big bully on the Wintrust Arena court — and that’s not just a reference to the 23 points she scored.

Cambage spent the majority of the game trolling the Sky’s frontcourt. Center Stefanie Dolson and power forward Cheyenne Parker were two of her main targets.

Cambage was seen trash talking and bumping elbows throughout the high-intensity game that held playoff implications. In the second quarter, Cambage received a technical after she celebrated scoring a basket by screaming in Dolson’s face.

Dolson, who was limited to a season-low 10 minutes, 37 seconds because of foul trouble, clearly was frustrated with the lack of calls on Cambage, who finished with three personal fouls in the first three quarters. In the first half, Dolson asked an official to watch Cambage more carefully.

Parker also got annoyed with Cambage. In the third, Parker received a technical for what the officials deemed intentionally bumping into Cambage when she got up from the ground.

After the game, guard Allie Quigley stood up for her teammates.

“It’s a shame that someone who has struggled with mental illness continuously calls people a fata$$ on the court,” Quigley tweeted. “Not the first time. And people wonder how/where depression starts. Be better. Just play.”

Cambage, who opened up about her battle with anxiety and depression in the Players’ Tribune last Sunday, denied calling anyone a fatass in a postgame tweet.

Wade said Cambage was “protected by the refs.” He also said the All-Star’s behavior was “uncalled for.”

“She’s such a great player, she doesn’t have to do that,” Wade said. “She’s one of the most dominant players in the league. The game didn’t have to go the way it went.”

Wade then directed his exasperations to the officials.

“We sent in three plays from the last game, and it wasn’t addressed,” he said. “So she was able to do anything she wanted. And I was tired of it. They called it, they sent her to the free-throw line for everything. That was absolutely atrocious.

“At the end of the game, I’m smart enough to know that they were trying to call it to even up the calls, like, that was uncalled for. Y’all saw it. They were able to travel, do everything. And we’re going to send them into the league again, and they’re going to tell us what the calls were again.”

Dolson finished with five fouls, which Wade disagreed with.

“I can assure you that two or three of those foul calls, they weren’t fouls,” said Wade, who claimed to have video evidence of Dolson getting hit in the head the last time the Sky played the Aces.

Since the third-place Aces (18-9) won, they’ll have home-court advantage if they play the Sky (15-11), who are fifth in the standings, in a wild-card game.

Wade said the Sky can’t take anything from this game.

“We’ll watch the game again, we’ll send the plays [to the league],” he said. “We’ll address the things that we did wrong because we didn’t do everything right.”