WNBA fines Shock coach Laimbeer for criticizing refs

9/6/2006 - WNBA Detroit Shock

The WNBA fined Detroit Shock coach Bill Laimbeer on Tuesday for criticizing the officiating after his club's loss to the Sacramento Monarchs in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.

Laimbeer ripped his own players and the officiating with equal vigor Sunday in his animated comments after Detroit's 89-69 loss.

"We're tired of there being a double standard on the whistle," Laimbeer said after Detroit was called for 28 fouls to Sacramento's 23. The clubs were called for 42 fouls apiece in the series' first two games.

"We're tired of it, and it's showing," Laimbeer continued. "Players are becoming frustrated, and we expect -- no, we demand -- that we get the same calls as the other team. ... We demand that we get the same hand-checks, that we get the same cheap calls that go against us. Am I whining? No. I'm stating a fact."

The league didn't announce the amount of the fine, but the WNBA's fines are typically a fraction of similar fines in the NBA.

Laimbeer also said center Ruth Riley was "overmatched," star guard Deanna Nolan "floated" despite leading the Shock with 22 points and claimed the Shock "lost our brain at times."

According to a report in Wednesday's Detroit Free Press, Laimbeer also said he'd refuse to wear his live microphone and cooperate with ESPN during Game 4.

"I just hear from our family and friends back home that, 'Boy, ESPN is killing you guys,'" Laimbeer told the newspaper. "'And [Nancy] Lieberman and Doris Burke are just trashing you left and right.' Not only me, but also some of our players on our ballclub."

Laimbeer told the Free Press that he would refuse to cooperate with the network for showing snippets of what he said to "create controversy or slam people."

"They're using their own tool to create their own story," Laimbeer said. "That shouldn't happen."

Laimbeer also said he wouldn't let cameras in the locker room for pregame routines and speeches.

"We're telling ESPN today to basically stick it," Laimbeer said.

Laimbeer was a four-time NBA All-Star and one of the league's most controversial and volatile players during his 14-season playing career. He teamed with Rick Mahorn to form the core of the Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boys" clubs that won championships in 1989 and 1990.

He has been mostly successful in 4 seasons leading the Shock, winning the WNBA title in 2003 before getting his club back to the finals this season.

Detroit trails Sacramento 2-1 in the best-of-five series. The Monarchs can clinch their second straight championship with a victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.