WBB UPDATE: Ohio’s Harris, Three CMU Players Suspended For Wednesday Fight

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Porsha Harris will be suspended for Ohio’s next two games following an altercation in Wednesday night’s contest at Central Michigan.

About nine minutes into the game, heading into a routine media timeout, Harris and Central Michigan’s Jas’Mine Bracey began to throw punches. Both benches spilled onto the court as officials and coaches attempted to subdue the players, and Bracey and Harris were both ejected from the game for their roles as instigators in the fight.

The cause of the fight remains uncertain, as there was no hard foul or pushing or shoving going into the media timeout. Bracey and Central Michigan’s Crystal Bradford and Jessica Green also received two-game suspensions for their direct involvement in the fight.

The Mid-American Conference issued a statement on its website Thursday evening regarding the incident. Within the statement, MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher commented on the altercation.

“The behavior of the involved student-athletes was unacceptable and has no place in basketball,” Steinbrecher said, in a press release from the conference. “I appreciate the quick action of the coaches from both institutions who prevented this incident from further escalating.”

Furthermore, Ohio Director of Athletics Jim Schaus was in compliance with the suspensions dished out by the MAC.

“We accept and agree with the game suspensions resulting from this unfortunate incident,” Schaus said, in the MAC release. “We will diligently work with our student-athletes to learn from this experience and ensure it does not occur in the future.”

While Ohio players and coaches have not been available for questions since the game’s conclusion, Ohio head coach Semeka Randall issued an apologetic statement on behalf of Ohio University late Thursday afternoon.

“Being the leader of this team it is very disappointing to see one of my players lose composure during a game,” Randall said. “Our student-athletes understand that not only do they represent themselves but also the University, the women’s basketball program as a whole and the very team on which they participate.”

Much of Ohio’s early season success can be attributed to Harris, who transferred from Gulf Coast Community College this year. Harris averaged nearly 11 points and seven rebounds in 11 non-conference games and led the Bobcats to a big win over Xavier with 29 points and 14 rebounds on December 19. However, she has been relatively unavailable for the Bobcats recently. Since December 29, Harris has not played more than 15 minutes in a game or scored more than four points. She missed four games after injuring her knee against Buffalo on January 4.

The suspensions are effective immediately, and Harris will be inactive for the Bobcats’ next two games: at Western Michigan on Saturday and versus Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, February 1.

“This is a very serious matter and it will be dealt with,” Randall added in her statement. “The league has made its decision and we plan on moving forward from this and preparing for our upcoming game against Western Michigan.”

Since conference play began on January 4, Ohio is just 2-5 and has been outrebounded in six of seven games. The Bobcats have also had recent struggles from the field, as they have looked out of sync offensively and shot below 30 percent in each of their last two losses.

Ohio (9-12, 2-5 MAC) will attempt to reverse these trends without Harris, and halt its struggles away from home to pick up its first road win of the season Saturday at Western Michigan (5-15, 2-5 MAC).