COLUMBIA — Two Missouri women's basketball players who were arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of third-degree assault say they were attempting to stop a fight, according to a Columbia Police report.
Amanda Hanneman and Jessra Johnson, Missouri's two leading scorers, told police that when an argument between a male Missouri cheerleader and his female roommate became physical, they decided to step in. The pair were at the residence at 36 N. Cedar Lake Drive with a group who had gone there after socializing at a Columbia bar. When MU cheerleader Justin Short, who had not been out with the group, complained that the group was being too loud, an argument ensued, according to Columbia Police Department Spokeswoman Jessie Haden.
Short placed a phone call to the police about 2 a.m. complaining there were people at his apartment that wouldn't leave. "So it started out as a trespass person call," Haden said. While in route, the police were informed Short had been assaulted and the suspects had left the area.
Accounts given to the police by several witnesses vary, but some say that there was a physical altercation between Short and his female roommate. Johnson's account says that when she tried to intervene there was shoving between her and Short. Hanneman's account says she slapped and punched Short after being pushed by him.
When police arrived, Short's nose was swollen and there was dried blood on his face and shirt and there was an abrasion under his left eye. Short was taken to University Hospital by ambulance and was released at 5 a.m. Friday.
Missouri women's basketball coach Cindy Stein indefinitely suspended Hanneman and Johnson from the team later on Friday, and after Sunday's victory over Murray State apologized "to our community and our athletic administration and our whole Mizzou nation on the perception that these allegations have caused our fans, friends, everybody.”
Short has also been suspended indefinitely from cheering at Missouri events, according to MU athletics spokeman Chad Moller.
The Boone County Prosecutors Office says the case is still under review.
This season, Johnson has scored 14.1 points a game and Hanneman averages 13.3.
Hanneman, a senior from Blue Springs, is seventh in the nation with 3.7 three-point field goals per game. Injury plagued for most of her career at Missouri, Hanneman only averaged 4 points per game in her first three seasons. She has blossomed as a star for the Tigers this season, helping Missouri to a 7-2 record, its best since 2006-2007.
Johnson, a senior from Fayette, became the 27th player at Missouri to reach 1,000 points when she accomplished the feat last Tuesday night against Bradley. In addition to leading the team in scoring, Johnson posts a team-best 7.3 rebounds per game.