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Which WNBA referees call the most fouls per game?

Now that the regular season is over, we can use box score data to figure out which WNBA referees are prone to blowing the whistle.

Hannah Foslien

Now that the 2014 season is over, it might be interesting to see which referees are the most whistle happy as we go into the playoffs where every point counts.

There were 22,455 total fouls called against players.  Of these, 165 fouls were player technical fouls.  The typical WNBA box score lists three referees per game and apportions fouls to individual players, but it does NOT state which referee called which foul. 

However, if a referee called enough games, we might get an impression of how prone an individual referee is to blowing the whistle if the games they end up calling end up with high numbers of fouls.

Therefore, take note.  The statistics below are the total fouls, fouls per game, and player technicals IN THE GAMES IN WHICH THE GIVEN REFEREE PARTICIPATED.  For example, take Scott Bolnick.  In the 11 games that Bolnick appeared in, an average of 36.8 fouls were called.  This does not mean that Bolnick himself called 36.8 fouls per game; rather, that the average number of fouls called in games where he was a referee was 36.8.  Likewise, in the 11 games where Bolnick was a member of the referee crew, a grand total of 3 technical fouls against players were called.

Note that 3-second technical fouls are excluded, as well as fouls against coaches.  I would like to come up with some grand explanation involving strategy as a reason for excluding these fouls, but I don't have one.  Rather, the spreadsheet I use to calculate the numbers would require a great deal of alteration to do it, and perhaps wouldn't change the numbers that much.

So 3-second technicals and coach technicals are excluded.  The data follows:

Player Player
Referee Total Fouls Total Games Fouls/Game Technicals Tech/Game
Tiara Cruse 261 6 43.5 3 0.50
Fatou Cissoko-Stephens 170 4 42.5 6 1.50
Tyler Ford 394 10 39.4 3 0.30
Thomas Nunez 1103 28 39.4 3 0.11
Roy Gulbeyan 1043 27 38.6 8 0.30
Donald Hudson 347 9 38.6 2 0.22
Maj Forsberg 727 19 38.3 2 0.11
Sue Blauch 1065 28 38.0 3 0.11
Kevin Sparrock 909 24 37.9 7 0.29
Daryl Humphrey 1008 27 37.3 3 0.11
Byron Jarrett 1005 27 37.2 8 0.30
Eric Brewton 1183 32 37.0 11 0.34
Jeff Wooten 700 19 36.8 5 0.26
Scott Bolnick 405 11 36.8 3 0.27
Billy Smith 875 24 36.5 6 0.25
Michael Price 1201 33 36.4 9 0.27
Jeff Smith 1055 29 36.4 16 0.55
Tiffany Bird 218 6 36.3 6 1.00
Cameron Inouye 725 20 36.3 7 0.35
Tim Greene 432 12 36.0 3 0.25
Lauren Holtkamp 610 17 35.9 6 0.35
Denise Brooks 1111 31 35.8 7 0.23
Tom Mauer 1036 29 35.7 12 0.41
Lamont Simpson 999 28 35.7 6 0.21
Amy Bonner 921 26 35.4 6 0.23
Cheryl Flores 389 11 35.4 2 0.18
Kurt Walker 975 28 34.8 3 0.11
Tony Dawkins 975 28 34.8 6 0.21
Janetta Graham 273 8 34.1 1 0.13
Pualani Spurlock 157 5 31.4 1 0.20
Aaron Smith 183 6 30.5 1 0.17
22455 612 39.4 165 0.3




So if you get Thomas Nunez, Roy Gulbeyan and Maj Forsberg calling a game, you might want to get something to eat.  But time might go by faster if Amy Bonner, Kurt Walker and Tony Dawkins are calling the game.