MTSU Women’s Basketball Team Tries to Regroup After Teammates’ Brutal Murder
Last Wednesday, March 2nd, Middle Tennessee State University women’s basketball player, Clantina “Tina” Stewart was stabbed to death. Stewart was stabbed at her apartment close to the MTSU campus. Police originally received an anonymous 911 call from Raiders Crossing Apartment on Hazelwood Street just before 7:00 p.m. Wednesday. When they arrived they took a man and a woman into custody outside the apartment and then found Stewart inside with multiple stab wounds. She was taken to Middle Tennessee Medical Center and later pronounced dead.
Stewart’s roommate, 18-year-old MTSU freshman Shanterrica Madden, has now been charged with first degree murder. She was booked into the Rutherford County Jail and is being held without bond until her preliminary hearing on March 11th. Officials said the two women got into a fight in their apartment when Madden pulled out a knife and stabbed Stewart. Madden’s attorney, Joe Brandon, told reporters that his client used Stewart’s own knife in self-defense during a fight. He also alleged madden has an abrasion above her left eye and that both her eyes are swollen.
The women’s basketball team has been deeply affected by the tragedy. On the night of the stabbing the players went from the hospital where Stewart was declared dead to coach Rick Insell’s home, spending hours together. After agonizing over whether or not to play in the Sun Belt Conference tournament this weekend, the team unanimously decided to play because they “know Tina would want us to go out and play,” senior guard Anne Marie Lanning told reporters.
On Sunday the team attempted to regroup in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, facing Arkansas State and honoring their lost teammate. They all sat on the bench, heads down and arms locked during a pregame moment of silence on Sunday with Tina’s home uniform draped over an empty chair on the sideline. The players wore purple ribbons in their hair (Stewart’s favorite color) and took the court for warm-ups in black t-shirts with “20GETHER” on the front and “Stewart” on the back in honor of Stewart’s jersey number 20. During the game their uniforms also carried a remembrance of Stewart with each player wearing a black patch with her number 20 on it on their jerseys. MTSU posted a 26-3 season and began the Sun Belt Conference tournament as the number 1 seed, receiving a first-round bye. The Blue Raiders lost 77-62 and await a potential postseason destination into the NCAA tournament after making the tournament in 4 out of the last 5 seasons.
Stewart was only 21-years-old and a junior at MTSU. She is originally from Memphis and went to the same high school as Madden, Memphis Central High. She was known as a “great girl…always smiling, always joking around.” A vigil was held Thursday night at MTSU with about 2500 people attending.
Her boyfriend, junior KC Anuna, also a basketball player at MTSU, wasn’t sure if he would go with his team to the Sun Belt Tournament. While unable to go into details about the event at this time he did say “Stewart was just trying to do the right thing Wednesday night.” He also said the 2 roommates had a previous altercation and that Stewart had warned madden she would call the authorities if there was another. There is an ongoing police investigation on the matter as the school and the athletic department try to hold their heads up high and return to normal as much as possible in the wake of tragedy.
As a Sun Belt Conference alumni myself I wish the school and the team all the best in the aftermath of this heinous crime. My thoughts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy.