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Five players and three fans were ejected from Thursday night’s game between Southern Miss and Arkansas State after a massive melee broke out in the first half that saw players and coaches being brought down to the ground and several punches being thrown.  

The skirmish caused a 23-minute delay in the second quarter as officials determined which players would likely be tossed from the game. 

The fight began when Arkansas State forward Emma Imevbore grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic and got tangled with Domonique Davis. Imevbore appeared to push Davis to the floor and then appeared to throw several punches at Brikayla Gray in front of the Southern Miss bench.

Southern Miss forward Asjha Leake, who was on the bench at the time, appeared to jump in with several other players and pulled Imevbore to the floor by her neck. 

Southern Miss assistant coach Jessica Barber was knocked over by the fight and was seemingly stuck beneath the pileup. 

“This could get ugly – it has gotten ugly,” one of the broadcasters on ESPN said. 

As the fight was winding down, several fans came down from the stands and got involved. 


“I can’t really comment because I have to follow conference guidelines, I just think it’s very, very, very unfortunate. And I believe that every incident you have in life, you learn. You may not like the consequences, but you’re going to learn from them,” Southern Miss head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said after the game. 

Southern Miss coach Joye Lee-McNeils on the sidelines

“And I think that – which we do not believe we should have done – it won’t happen again. It will not happen again. We’ve got to understand that every decision we make, wherever we are in life, will determine our future – whether it’s tomorrow, the next day, whenever.” 

Southern Miss’ Asjha Leake, Lani Cornfield, Domonique Davis and Brikayla Gray were all ejected from the game. Imevbore and three fans were also tossed. 

Despite the loss of three starters, Southern Miss went on to beat Arkansas State 57-48. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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