Sports can be hard, no question. There’s lots of rules, regulations and stuff to remember. So players get confused on the court sometimes. It happens.
But have you ever seen an entire team get so disoriented that they went the wrong way on the court and scored on themselves?
No? Then you’re in for a treat.
Wow — now that was some confusing basketball.
OK, let’s break that down.
This game, Russia vs. Spain, happened on Sunday during the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup. Sure, Russia eventually won the game 77-58, but that doesn’t change the fact that almost the entire team went backwards and scored on their own basket during the game.
Here’s what happened:
1. A player on Russia inbounds the ball to her teammate from the baseline after it goes out of bounds on a Spanish player. The rest of the team is hovering up by midcourt.
2. The teammate takes the ball and passes it to another teammate as they head up the court.
3. The ball-handler dribbles onto the other side of the court, approaches the three-point arc, and passes to a teammate, who’s been there waiting the whole time.
4. That player pulls up and nails a three-pointer. Beautiful.
5. Now here’s the twist ... THE TEAM WAS GOING THE WRONG WAY THE WHOLE DANG TIME.
Watch the play again — at least three players are headed the wrong direction on this play. One player points in the opposite direction, but pretty much everyone else is sure they’re headed in the right direction. It was actually a great play — Russia sliced right through the Spanish defense. But none of it mattered because Russia used its offense prowess to score three points on itself.
And the aftermath was not pretty.
The player who scored was clearly embarrassed and surprised.
And the Spanish coach kept waving his arms and pointing in BOTH directions, apparently arguing to refs that it should have been a backcourt violation. And according to page 32 of the FIBA rulebook, he was correct:
A team in control of a live ball in the frontcourt has caused the ball to be illegally returned to their backcourt if a player of that team is the last to touch the ball in his frontcourt and the ball is then first touched by a player of that team who has part of his body in contact with the backcourt or after the ball has touched the backcourt of that team.
In that case, the play should have been a backcourt violation. However, instead, Russia scored three points on itself. But regardless of the outcome, it was one of the most confusing basketball plays ever. And if it was confusing for the fans, imagine what it must have been like on the court.