A day after a bench-clearing fight ended the Southwestern Athletic Conference women’s basketball regular-season title game in a double forfeit, the conference was reviewing the skirmish.
With 12:36 left in the game Saturday, a fight broke out between Southern and Texas Southern. Southern was leading 51-49, and Southern’s Miracle Davis had just drawn a charge underneath the basket.
“I haven’t reviewed the film as much as I’d like, but my initial response is that there was a significant show of and attempt at restraint on the part of our bench as the melee unfolded,” Southern athletic director Dr. William Broussard said in a statement. “At a certain point it’s difficult to distinguish whether or not we interacted out of aggression or to defend teammates as Texas Southern’s game-day staff and security personnel attempted to respond.”
The officials ruled the game a double forfeit. Since the game lasted less than 30 minutes on the clock, NCAA rules don’t count the stats.
Southern coach Sandy Pugh told The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the visiting Jaguars are located, “I’ve been involved with basketball for 30-plus years and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s an embarrassment.”
The players throwing punches were TSU’s Alexus Johnson and Diamonisha Sophus, the report said, with security holding Johnson back minutes later from storming into the Southern locker room to resume the brawl.
“I just saw two kids standing up looking at each other and someone else push and yell,” Pugh said. “My first reaction is to tell everyone to stay. But I look up and they have two kids running in. One of their kids throws the first punch and one of our kids was on the ground and someone was just pounding her. Next thing I know it was a melee.”
In a game against Alabama A&M on Feb. 21, three Southern players were ejected early in the second half for leaving the bench area after an on-court incident. Any player leaving the bench area in such instances is automatically ejected.
Southern (18-10) entered the night a game behind Texas Southern (19-10). The league’s official Twitter feed said the score would stand and the teams would share the regular-season title with 16-2 records. Texas Southern was awarded the top seed in the tournament, which begins Wednesday, by virtue of outscoring Southern in the two meetings. They won the first game 62-48 on Jan. 5.
The two teams could meet in the final of the conference tournament Saturday.
Texas Southern athletic director Charles McClelland called the matter an “unfortunate incident” that “undoubtedly does not reflect the core values and principles that we expect” from players. He added that both schools and the conference are reviewing what happened.
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