Despite player’s death, Middle Tennessee St. women will play in Sun Belt tourney

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A day after a Middle Tennessee State women’s player was stabbed and died – allegedly by a teammate — her team elected to play in the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

Teammates of Tina Stewart met with school athletic director Chris Massaro and coach Rick Insell Thursday and decided to continue their season. Middle Tennessee (23-6) is the tournament’s top seed and will play Sunday.

“We know Tina would want us to go out and play,” teammate Anne Marie Lanning said Thursday. “We just talked about it, and we all just kind of looked at each other, ‘Yeah, that’s what we want to do. We want to make sure to collectively decide. Not five saying yes, five saying no. We all just talked about it. We’re going to go out there and play for Tina and give it our all.”

The school has printed stickers and signs with the phrase “20GETHER” to honor Stewart, who wore No. 20.

“We became very supportive of what they decided to do, and they just decided it before they went in here that they want to go to Hot Springs,” Insell said Thursday.

The details of Stewart’s death emerged late Wednesday night. More emerged Thursday as the accused, Shanterrica Madden, pled self-defense in the incident. She’s been charged with first-degree murder.

“Miss Stewart, who was an athlete, had Miss Madden down on the ground beating on her. Miss Madden has an abrasion above her left eye, looks like perhaps a fingernail. She has swelling to both of her eyes. And during the course of the fight, a knife belonging to Miss Stewart that was in Miss Stewart’s possession ended up getting used on Miss Stewart,” her attorney, Joe Brandon, told the AP.

Brandon will file a motion asking that bond be set for Madden. She is scheduled to be in Rutherford Country General Sessions Court on March 11.

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