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Middle Tennessee women's basketball team will compete after teammate's stabbing death

After spending most of Thursday grieving for Tina Stewart, the players decide to participate in Sun Belt Conference tournament.

March 03, 2011|Wire reports
  • Middle Tennessee State guard Tina Stewart was found stabbed at her apartment Wednesday night. A roommate was charged in the case.
Middle Tennessee State guard Tina Stewart was found stabbed at her apartment… (Middle Tennessee State…)

The Middle Tennessee women's basketball team spent most of Thursday grieving the stabbing death of teammate Tina Stewart and agonizing over the decision to play in the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

They took every minute they could, then unanimously decided to continue their season.

The Blue Raiders met with Athletic Director Chris Massaro and Coach Rick Insell before reaching the decision minutes before a news conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn. But Insell said the decision to play this weekend in Arkansas was solely the players'.

"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.

Stewart, 21, of Memphis, was stabbed to death Wednesday night and her 18-year-old roommate, Shanterrica Madden, has been charged with first-degree murder. Madden, a freshman at Middle Tennessee, is being held without bond. Her attorney, Joe Brandon, said his client used Stewart's own knife against her in self-defense during a fight. He did not say what led to the altercation.

During the news conference, teammate Anne Marie Lanning spoke for the Blue Raiders with her teammates grouped behind her, holding hands. In a show of unity, the men's team stood behind the women with all the players wearing purple ribbons and stickers reading "20GETHER" in honor of Stewart's jersey No. 20.

Lanning said the women went from the hospital where Stewart was declared dead to Insell's home Wednesday night.

"We know Tina would want us to go out and play," Lanning said. "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."

A grand jury in Waco, Texas, declined to indict Baylor guard LaceDarius Dunn for assault, effectively ending the case that began last fall when he was arrested on allegations that he broke his girlfriend's jaw.

PRO FOOTBALL

Saints, Thomas agree on four-year deal

New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said running back Pierre Thomas has agreed to a four-year contract with the club. Financial terms were not announced.

Thomas, 26, sat out 10 games last season because of a severe left ankle sprain. He gained 269 yards rushing with two touchdowns in the six games he played.

Thomas, who in 2007 made the Saints' roster as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Illinois, emerged as the club's top rusher in 2008 and 2009.

Loomis also said kicker Garrett Hartley agreed to a five-year contract with the Saints. Hartley was briefly benched last season after several short-range misses, but he finished 20 for 25 on field goals.

The Carolina Panthers agreed to terms with four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey on a one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the decision said. The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been signed.

Shockey, 30, was released by New Orleans last week and also had received interest from the Miami Dolphins.

Pro Bowl tight end Owen Daniels agreed to a new contract with the Houston Texans. KRIV-TV and the Houston Chronicle, who first reported the deal, said it was for four years and the newspaper said it was worth about $22 million.

The Oakland Raiders will let offensive lineman Robert Gallery leave as a free agent after seven years with the team.

PRO BASKETBALL

Ex-Clipper Butler signs with Bulls

The Chicago Bulls signed swingman Rasual Butler, who was waived by the Clippers this week.

Butler, 31, appeared in 41 games with the Clippers, averaging 5.0 points in 18.1 minutes per game. In eight-plus seasons, he has averaged 8.6 points and shot 36.1% on three-pointers.

NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant was held out of practice Thursday because of a sprained left ankle, and Oklahoma City Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said it is doubtful he will play Friday at Atlanta.

Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis is expected to sit out a week because of a left knee injury. An MRI showed that Davis has patellar tendinitis but no major damage.

The Dallas Mavericks signed forward Corey Brewer, who was waived Tuesday by the New York Knicks.

ETC.

Skate America will be held in Ontario

U.S. Figure Skating said Skate America, the U.S. stop in the Grand Prix series, will be held Oct. 21-23 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Skate America was last in California in 1991 in Oakland.

Spencer Levin negotiated blustery conditions, shooting three-under-par 67 for a one-shot clubhouse lead over five players at the PGA Tour's Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The first round was suspended because of darkness with 12 players still on the course.

Michael Phelps posted the fastest times in the world this year in both of his events Thursday at the Indianapolis Grand Prix swim meet. He won the 200-meter freestyle in 1 minute 46.27 seconds, and the 100 butterfly in 51.75 seconds.

The San Antonio Silver Stars will play host to the WNBA All-Star game for the first time when the game is played July 23 at the AT&T Center.

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