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Memphis guard charged with assault after allegedly punching Bowling Green player

By Mike Santa Barbara,

Jamirah Shutes Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NETWORK

An alleged sucker punch in the handshake line of the women's NIT has led to assault charges against a Memphis basketball player.

According to multiple reports, Memphis senior Jamirah Shutes is facing criminal charges following an altercation with Bowling Green player Elissa Brett in the aftermath of the Tigers' 73-60 loss in the NIT round of 16 on Thursday.

"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," a statement from Bowling Green University read via Justin Feldkamp of BCSN.

"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. This is an active investigation in conjunction with the City of Bowling Green Prosecutor, and no further comment is available at this time."

The incident occurred during the handshake line after the final whistle, in full view of cameras and the crowd. The pair appeared to exchange words in line before Shutes punched Brett, knocking her to the ground. Brett stayed down on the court briefly before walking off under her power.

It's unclear what led to the altercation, but the bad blood between Shutes and Brett may have stemmed from a mix-up in the opening half. According to reports, Shutes left the game for a time after being hit by Brett with what appeared to be an accidental strike to the face during the first quarter.

For Shutes, a fifth-year senior, it's probably not how she envisioned her collegiate career would end. However, Brett and Bowling Green remain alive as they move onto the NIT Elite Eight against Florida on Monday at 6 p.m. EST.

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