WARRNAMBOOL Mermaids coach Louise Brown has questioned a game-changing technical foul called against her in the dying stages of their Big V game one grand final series defeat.
The Mermaids had clawed their way back from a 25-point deficit to be within two points with 15 seconds on the clock before the referee’s decision.
Casey Cavaliers made the most of their visit to the free throw line, eventually winning 70-64, to give themselves an advantage heading into game two on Saturday night on their home floor.
Brown was unhappy with the referee’s call.
“To be honest, I was obviously really disappointed in myself for getting that but I went up to the ref after the game and said ‘why did I get that? I didn’t abuse you, I didn’t swear at you, I said ‘that has to be a foul, she’s holding her’,” she said.
“And I got a tech foul for that. I got no warning. I said ‘there’s 15 seconds left in a grand final (game) we’re allowed to have a little bit of passion’.
“It is really disappointing that they take that out of the game.”
The Mermaids came close to a memorable victory after rallying back from a slow start.
They went into half-time down 41-23 and slipped 25 points behind early in the third term.
“Defensively we were out of sync, we were often out of position and offensively we could not buy a basket,” she said.
“Our first half was really poor and probably reflected the way we trained this week, we were really flat.
“Tuesday night we were flat, maybe that was from coming off a big trip (to Mildura) the weekend before, and we had four or five girls with the flu.”
The Mermaids slowly started to turn the momentum on the back of increased defensive pressure.
Amy Wormald and Carly Pulling led the way in defence and Holly Greene and Katie O’Keefe hit some crucial shots.
“I said to the girls ‘at three-quarter-time we want to be back within 10’ and we were,” Brown said of the second-half response.
“We needed to grind it play-by-play, just work on our stops.
“We really stepped up, switched on and got some stops at the defensive end of the floor and our offence started to flow a bit more from that.
“We started to move the ball a bit better, we started to run the ball, we just got easy shots.
“We weren’t having to work as hard for our scores, so that’s a promising sign.”
Wormald finished with a game-high 21 points and eight steals from a full 40 minutes’ court time.
Experienced duo O’Keefe (13) and Greene (11) also hit double figures.