Bulldogs Host Tulane Thursday In WNIT Opener

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Mississippi State will host Tulane Thursday in the opening round of the WNIT. MSU will host a Hail State Hoops Luncheon Wednesday.
Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Postseason action returns to Humphrey Coliseum at 7 p.m. Thursday as Mississippi State hosts Tulane in the opening round of the 2014 WNIT.

General admission tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for MSU students and youth 18 and under. Fans can purchase tickets at the gate, online at www.hailstate.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS.

Locally, fans can listen to the game on WKBB-FM 100.9 and on WXWX-FM 96.3, while HailStateTV subscribers can access live video and audio of the game at www.HailState.com/HSTVLive.

The Bulldogs (19-13) return to the postseason for the first time since the 2009-10 team made its historic run to the NCAA Sweet 16. MSU is making its seventh appearance in the WNIT and its first since 2008.

“We’re excited to still be playing, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be and what we’re used to as a staff,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “It’s a natural progression and step for our program.

“(The WNIT) is a prestigious tournament, and there are a lot of tradition-rich programs in this field. We’re excited about the opportunity to continue to play. Tulane is a well-coached team with a tradition of being in the postseason, so we will have our hands full.”

Mississippi State is playing host to a WNIT game for the first time since 2007, as the Bulldogs, ironically, earned a 79-73 victory against Tulane in the second round.

Martha Alwal paces Schaefer’s squad with 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. The junior was named Associated Press First Team All-SEC Tuesday, two weeks after earning first team honors from league coaches along with SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year and all-defensive team accolades.

Classmate Kendra Grant also contributes double figures in the scoring column with 11.1 points per game. The Richland, Miss., native had the hot hand for MSU in the SEC Tournament, averaging 15.5 points behind 52.2 percent shooting from the field.

The Green Wave (20-10) finished fourth in Conference USA with an 11-5 league record. Tulane has lost three in a row and four of its last five entering the tournament, including a 69-55 loss to Florida International in the C-USA quarterfinals.

Danielle Blagg leads the Green Wave with a 12.1 scoring clip, while Tiffany Dale averages 12.0 points and paces the team with 8.2 boards per contest.

MSU and Tulane last met on the hardwood two seasons ago as the Bulldogs claimed a 70-55 win in Starkville. The Green Wave hold a slim 5-4 advantage in the all-time series, but Mississippi State has won back-to-back games at home to claim a 3-2 edge in Starkville.

Thursday’s winner will advance to play either Southern Miss or Lamar in the second round (March 22-25).
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