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Players: Teammate made to run till she collapsed

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Several players on New Mexico State's women's basketball team contend their former coach pulled a teammate's hair and made a sick player run until she collapsed and was hospitalized.

The accusations were made against Nikita Lowry, who was placed on administrative leave in December over what athletics director Brian Faison termed "philosophical differences in coaching management."

Two coaches deny the accusations, saying the players are complaining about the discipline it takes to win.

After Lowry was placed on leave, assistant Marlene Stollings became interim coach. She and the other coaches walked off the job in protest last week, saying the athletics department had stopped communicating with them. Faison regarded their walkouts as resignations.

Ten players attended a news conference Sunday, and nine raised their hands when asked if they would quit if Lowry were reinstated. The 10th, Mari Sanchez, said she would stay because she is a senior.

The athletics department and administration had no comment Monday when reached by The Associated Press.

Aggies guard Princess Moore said Lowry grabbed her hair once during practice and screamed an expletive at her.

Forward Orphee Cherizard said she showed up for practice ill on her birthday. She said she was the only player ordered to run up and down stairs.

"I saw stars and I fell on the ground," she said.

Lowry and Stollings denied making Cherizard run stairs, but said she had to climb stairs to get to the bathroom.

"She came to me and told me she was ill," Lowry said. "I sent her over to the trainer. If the trainer knew she was ill, it's the trainer's job to take her out of practice."

The player said the hospital diagnosed a kidney infection. Lowry said none of the coaches knew Cherizard was seriously sick until the diagnosis.

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