Bulldogs Selected To Play In WNIT

Mississippi State is headed back to the postseason! The Bulldogs were selected as part of the 64-team field for the 2014 Women's National Invitation Tournament Monday night and will host Tulane Thursday in the opening round at Humphrey Coliseum.

Tip time for the first round games will be announced Tuesday. Tickets for the contest go on sale at 8 a.m. Tuesday and cost $6 for adults and $4 for MSU students and youth 18 and under. All tickets for the contest will be general admission, and they can be purchased at www.hailstate.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS.

Fans can celebrate the postseason nod Wednesday as the team will host a special Hail State Hoops luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Mize Pavilion. Cost for the luncheon is $12 per person, and fans can RSVP by phone (662) 325-0198 or via e-mail at dbrown@athletics.msstate.edu.

Mississippi State will make its seventh WNIT appearance and its first since the 2007-08 season. It will be the Bulldogs' first time in the field since the tournament expanded to the 64-team format.

Head coach Vic Schaefer's squad makes its first postseason appearance since the 2009-10 campaign, and will host a WNIT game for the fourth time overall and first time since 2007.

"We're excited to be selected to the 2014 WNIT field. It's a natural progression in the growth of our program, and we are excited to have the opportunity in this prestigious tournament against some talented teams that have rich history and tradition," Schaefer said. "We're proud to have the opportunity to represent the SEC in this tournament."

The Bulldogs joined Auburn and Missouri from the league in receiving bids to the field.

Tulane brings a 20-10 mark into Thursday's contest. State's last home WNIT game was against the Green Wave, a contest the Bulldogs won 79-73 in 2007.

Schaefer's second Bulldog squad made a six-win improvement to post a 19-13 record, the team's first winning record since 2009-10. He not only claimed the most wins by an MSU second-year coach, but he also became the first to lead State to the postseason in year two.

Mississippi State has enjoyed a banner season on the court, compiling at 71.3 scoring average that is on track to be the best since the 2002-03 season. MSU also set school records in both free throws (622) and attempts (873).

The Dawgs have been paced this season by junior Martha Alwal, who earned First Team All-SEC and SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year honors after scoring 15.3 points per game, rating second in the SEC with 2.8 blocks per game and rating third on the boards with 8.7 per contest.

Classmate Kendra Grant is second on the squad with 11.1 points per game. The Richland, Miss., native enters the WNIT after averaging 15.5 points in the SEC Tournament.

SEC All-Freshman Team selection Breanna Richardson also had a stellar showing in Duluth, Ga., scoring at a 10.0 clip while hauling down 8.5 rebounds per contest.

Thursday's winner will face the winner of Southern Miss and Lamar in the second round.


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