BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — A University of Memphis women’s basketball player is accused of punching an opponent after the Tigers’ loss to Bowling Green on Thursday in the Sweet 16 of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Jamirah Shutes, 23, was charged with assault after the incident, which allegedly occurred while the teams proceeded through the line in the traditional postgame handshake, the Commercial Appeal reported.
Shutes, 23, appeared to punch Bowling Green player Elissa Brett, 22, according to videos circulating on social media.
BGSU women’s basketball moving on to the final 8 of the WNIT after beating Memphis — but this will steal the headlines unfortunately.— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) March 24, 2023
Ugly, ugly scene in the handshake line. A Memphis player punched Elissa Brett. Just brutal. pic.twitter.com/2hptXYBEtj
It is unclear what led to the confrontation between the two players.
Bowling Green advanced with a 73-60 victory. Shutes, a senior guard from Brownsville, Tennessee, scored 12 points to lead Memphis (22-11). Brett, a senior guard from Adelaide, Australia, had 15 points for Bowling Green (30-6), according to ESPN.
Bowling Green’s athletic department said in a statement on Friday that a member of the Memphis women’s basketball team was charged with assault but did not name the player, NBC News reported.
The Bowling Green State University Athletics Department said in a statement Friday that a member of the Memphis women’s basketball team was charged with assault, WTVG-TV reported. Shutes was not named in the statement.
“Following Thursday’s unwarranted physical incident after the WNIT home game, the Bowling Green State University Police Department has charged a member of the Memphis Women’s Basketball team with assault,” the statement said. “Additionally, BGSU Athletics is conducting its own review. Violence is never acceptable and our priority remains the health, safety and support of our student-athlete, who is recovering and doing well.”
According to an incident report, authorities were told that Shutes allegedly struck Brett with a closed fist to her face, NBC News reported.
Memphis athletic department officials also released a statement, calling it “extremely unfortunate” and “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,” Memphis officials added. “To be respectful of that process, we will not comment further until it is complete.”
Second-year Memphis coach Katrina Merriweather announced her resignation on Friday, but school officials said her decision was not related to Wednesday’s incident, WHBQ-TV reported.
Merriweather “arrived at her decision despite our significant efforts to retain her,” Memphis officials said.
“She also indicated that this decision was entirely independent from the circumstances surrounding the end of our season.”