A Memphis basketball player has been charged by Bowling Green campus police with assault after punching a Falcons player in the handshake line following a Women’s NIT game, according to the Bowling Green athletic department.
“Violence is never acceptable and our priority remains the health, safety and support of our student-athlete, who is recovering and doing well,” the athletic department said in a statement Friday. “This is an active investigation in conjunction with the City of Bowling Green Prosecutor, and no further comment is available at this time.”
As the teams walked toward center court Thursday night following Bowling Green's 73-60 win in the Round of 16 game, Memphis' Jamirah Shutes stopped to talk with the Falcons' Elissa Brett. After a short conversation, Shutes appears to throw a punch at Brett's face. Brett fell toward the scorer’s table and onto the sideline.
There was no immediate word about what caused the confrontation.
Bowling Green coach Robyn Fralich didn't directly comment on the incident after the game, saying only that they were “figuring all those things out,” as far as what happened in the handshake line.
Memphis' athletics department said Friday that the incident was "extremely unfortunate and certainly not consistent with, or representative of, our expectations for our programs and student-athletes.”
“Because the incident occurred after the game, jurisdiction falls in the hands of local authorities, and we are cooperating fully with their process," the statement said. "To be respectful of that process, we will not comment further until it is complete.”
The Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper reported that Shutes, who leads the Tigers in scoring, took an elbow to her face with 24 seconds left in the opening quarter and played just eight minutes in the first half. She returned to start the second half.
Shutes, a fifth-year player who finished with 13 points in her final game with the Tigers, was a second-team All-AAC selection this season.
Brett scored 15 points in the win.
Bowling Green guard Elissa Brett (5) draws a charging foul against Memphis guard Jamirah Shutes (23) during the second half of a WNIT game at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, Friday March 23, 2023. (Scott Grau/Sentinel-Tribune via AP)