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Tina Stewart, MTSU guard, stabbed to death

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Police have charged a roommate in the fatal stabbing of Middle Tennessee State University basketball player Tina Stewart.

The junior guard from Memphis was pronounced dead at a Murfreesboro hospital after police answering a disturbance call Wednesday night found her stabbed at her apartment.

The Daily News Journal reports that Murfreesboro police charged 18-year-old Shanterrica Madden with first-degree murder. Police spokesman Kyle Evans says Madden stabbed Stewart during an argument.

Madden's attorney said his client acted in self-defense. Attorney Joe Brandon told The Associated Press on Thursday that Madden used Stewart's own knife on her during a fight. He did not say what the altercation was about. "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," Brandon said.

Two others were ruled out as suspects after police interviewed them.

Middle Tennessee president Sidney McPhee, who spoke with Stewart's father, said at the news conference that the entire university is grieving over the death of "a wonderful talented and vibrant young woman." McPhee said Stewart had spent the past three Thanksgivings with his family because she could not return home for the holiday.

"The anguish I feel as a father and a president ... but personally as a father with a daughter about the age of Tina cannot adequately be expressed with words," McPhee said.

Counselors have been alerted to help on campus.

The Blue Raiders (23-6) are the No. 1 seed from the East and scheduled to start play in the Sun Belt Conference tournament Sunday against either Florida Atlantic or Arkansas State in Hot Springs, Ark. They are looking for a 14th trip to the NCAA tournament.

Stewart averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 28 games this season.

Athletic director Chris Massaro was emotional at the news conference.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy to one of our family members," Massaro said. "Our biggest concern is with Tina and her family. The team is devastated, but we'll work through this together ... one step at a time."

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