Memphis guard Jamirah Shutes has been charged with assault for allegedly punching Bowling Green player Elissa Brett as the two teams lined up for handshakes following the Falcons’ third-round victory in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) Thursday night, police said.
The Bowling Green State University Police Department issued a press release Friday confirming that Shutes, a fifth-year player, was charged after the “unwarranted physical incident” involving Brett at the conclusion of BGSU’s 73-60 victory.
“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.
“Violence is never acceptable, and our priority remains the health, safety and support of our student-athlete, who is recovering and doing well. This is an active investigation in conjunction with the City of Bowling Green Prosecutor, and no further comment is available at this time.”
Police said BGSU Athletics was also conducting its own review.
The incident happened at the conclusion of the Memphis-BGSU Sweet 16 matchup. As both teams approached center court to shake hands, Shutes appeared to stop when she reached Brett.
Shutes then sucker-punched Brett, forcing her to the ground, according to police.
A member of the Tigers’ coaching staff appeared to grab Shutes and escort her off the court.
According to an incident report, Brett sustained “swelling in their right eye due to this strike.”
Memphis released a statement Friday confirming that it was working with local authorities.
“The incident that occurred following Thursday’s women’s basketball game was extremely unfortunate and certainly not consistent with, or representative of, our expectations for our programs and student-athletes,” the statement said.
“Because the incident occurred after the game, jurisdiction falls in the hands of local authorities, and we are cooperating fully with their process. To be respectful of that process, we will not comment further until it is complete.”
A Tennessee native, Shutes became the 27th player in program history to score 1,000 points. She ranks 13th at the school all-time in career points.
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