NCAA has mixture of vets and newcomers in Final Four officiating crew

A year after having the first-ever all-female officiating crew at the Final Four, the NCAA has chosen four males and seven females to referee the national semifinals and championship game this weekend in Cleveland.

Melissa Barlow will be officiating her 12th Final Four and Joe Vaszily will be working his 10th. They are the two most senior members of the group. Joining Barlow and Vaszily are Gina Cross, Roy Gulbeyan, Eric Brewton, Katie Lukanich, In'Fini Robinson, Tiffany Bird, Brenda Pantoja, Brian Hall and Angelica Suffren.

“These experienced officials delivered consistent and elite performances throughout the series of tournament games this year,” national coordinator of women’s basketball officiating Penny Davis said. “Their work on the floor has led to their selections for these upcoming assignments. It’s an honor to be selected for any tournament assignment, but to advance to these final games is not only an honor but bears an immense amount of responsibility. This group is prepared and ready!”

Five of the seven women chosen worked the games in Dallas last year, although none of them were on the court for the title game that the NCAA said earlier this season did not meet expectations.

Suffren had to work a game and a half in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament when official Tommi Paris was replaced at halftime after it was discovered she had gotten a masters degree at Chattanooga, which was playing in the game. Suffren had worked the first game at that site between Tennessee and Green Bay.

One official who won't be working this weekend is Dee Kantner, who had officiated in every Final Four since 1992 except for the five years she worked in the NBA from 1997-2002.

The first semifinal pits undefeated South Carolina against N.C. State while the second one has Caitlin Clark and Iowa facing UConn.


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