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Old 03-08-2015, 05:00 PM   #1
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TSU releases statement after fight at women's basketball game

Southern and Texas Southern were playing for the Southwestern Athletic Conference women's basketball regular-season title Saturday night when a bench-clearing fight broke out midway through the second half.

Officials ruled the game a double forfeit.

Southern was leading 51-49 at the time, and the league's official Twitter feed said the score would stand and the teams would share the regular-season title with 16-2 records.

Southern coach Sandy Pugh told The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, 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 report said the brawl broke out after Texas Southern's Miracle Davis took a charge. Players, cheerleaders and fans were reportedly involved and punches were thrown as security rushed to the court.

"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."

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.

Southern entered the night a game behind Texas Southern. However, Texas Southern enters the SWAC tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Cortnei Purnell had 16 points for Southern. Kendra Coleman and Jasmine Jefferson added 11 apiece.

Sophus hit a half-court shot before the halftime buzzer to trim Southern's lead to 42-36.

"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 Sunday.

"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."

Texas Southern athletic director Dr. Charles McClelland also released a statement Sunday.

"At Texas Southern University we hold our student-athletes to high standards in regards to sportsmanship and personal conduct," McClelland said. "An unfortunate incident occurred during the second half of our women's basketball game with Southern University that undoubtedly does not reflect the core values and principles that we expect our student-athletes to exhibit at all times. Both institutions along with the conference office are in the process of reviewing the incident and gathering additional information."

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