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The Italian Basketball Federation suspended Dearica Hamby for three months for a "violent gesture" against Ivana Tikvic during a league game between Torino and Ragusa on Saturday.

The suspension was handed down Monday by the federation. Hamby is appealing the decision.

D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

In a statement released Sunday, league president Massimo Protani expressed "sadness" over Hamby's behavior, adding that it "doesn't leave any space for justification."

The incident occurred with 26 seconds left in the game and Tikvic's team, Torino, leading by 18 points. Tikvic was dribbling toward midcourt when Hamby came up from behind and made contact. Tikvic fell to the ground, bumping her head. Hamby stood over Tikvic for a moment after she went down.

The Croatian was attended to for 20 minutes before leaving the court on a stretcher. She was taken to a hospital and released the next day.

A replay of the incident on Ragusa's website showed that Hamby took a swipe at the back of Tikvic's head, but didn't seem to make contact with the punch.

Hamby, an American who played at Wake Forest and is in her first season with Ragusa, apologized for what happened. She told The Associated Press she went to the officials and Tikvic before the incident, asking them to clean up the game.

"It was super too physical all game, and I'm not gonna let someone continuously do that and jeopardize me or my career," Hamby said. "So I felt the need to protect myself. I shouldn't have stood over her."

Hamby said the league, upon suspending her, hadn't seen the replay angle that shows her not making contact with Tikvic's head.

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