- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2011

MURFREESBORO, TENN. (AP) - Middle Tennessee officials are meeting with the Blue Raiders women’s basketball team and will let the squad decide if they want to play in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference tournament after the stabbing death of their teammate.

Freshman Shanterrica Madden, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing of junior guard Tina Stewart from Memphis. Police found the 21-year-old Stewart stabbed repeatedly inside her apartment.

Athletic director Chris Massaro was meeting individually Thursday with players from both the women’s team and the men’s team. Middle Tennessee (23-6) is the No. 1 seed from the East and scheduled to play its first game Sunday in Hot Springs, Ark.

Both the Blue Raiders and coach Rick Insell will be talking with reporters Thursday afternoon in their locker room before an on-campus vigil. The team originally had been scheduled to leave Friday for Arkansas.

Stewart averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 28 games this season for the Blue Raiders.

Madden was in Rutherford County General Sessions Court on Thursday, and The Daily News Journal reports she will be held without bond. Madden also was ordered taken to the Murfreesboro Police Department to be photographed for any possible injuries in an alleged fight that led to Stewart’s death.

Middle Tennessee president Sidney McPhee posted a letter on the Blue Raiders’ website to the university Thursday.

“I am writing you to convey my sorrow and grief - not only as the president of our University, but as a father myself - over the loss of Tina Stewart, a wonderful, talented and vibrant young woman and gifted student athlete,” McPhee wrote.

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