Lisa Jones Officiates Her 11th Final Four With Historic NCAA Lineup of All-Women Officials

Lisa Jones, a Black woman basketball referee, is in the game.

Over the weekend, NCAA marked a historic moment with an all-female lineup working the national semifinals and championship game at the women’s Final Four.

Reportedly, the organization celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year, and Jones was part of a first-time lineup that has never happened before in the NCAA.

“We celebrate this accomplishment with all of those who paved a way and broken barriers as we play our role in growing this great game,” NCAA Coordinator of Officials Penny Davis said.

Draft Kings Nation reported that 11 officials were selected by the NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Committee, and the weekend marked Jones’ eleventh time officiating the Final Four. The other female officials included Dee Kantner, who officiated her 26th Final Four, and first-time Final Four officials Katie Lukanich, Tiara Cruse, Tiffany Bird, Gina Cross, Maj Forsberg, Michol Murray, Brenda Pantoja, Pualani Spurlock-Welsh, and Angelica Suffren. Sources reported that nine of the 11 women, including seven former Division I players, played college basketball. Together, the women boast 293 seasons of Division I experience.

“I hope that the student-athletes and fans see these women as an inspiration and the opportunity to contribute to the game through officiating,” Davis said.

According to ABC News, Jones recently responded to a controversial technical foul against Caitlin Clark during Sunday’s 2023 Women’s NCAA title game, in which she officiated alongside Spurlock-Welsh and Murray, where the Iowa Hawkeyes lost 102-85 to the LSU Tigers.

“Iowa received a delay of game warning in the third period at the 7:28 mark for batting the ball away after a made basket, causing a delay,” Jones said. “The second offense was when No. 22 from Iowa [Clark] picked up the ball and failed to immediately pass the ball to the nearest official after the whistle was blown … by failing to and it reads, attempting to gain an advantage by interfering with the ball after a goal or by failing to immediately pass the ball to the nearest official after the whistle is blown.”

The 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament Final Four was held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The national semifinals tipped off on Friday, March 31, while the championship game was held on Sunday, April 2.