Tulane Women's Basketball Falls In Second Round of WNIT to Mississippi State

Jennifer Sands Records First Double-Double of Season; Luckhurst Adds 16 Points

March 18, 2007

STARKVILLE, MS - The Tulane women's basketball team fought back from down seven in the second half, but the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs escaped with a 79-73 win in the Second Round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament Sunday afternoon. Jennifer Sands led Tulane with 18 points while Nikki Luckhurst added 16 for Tulane (26-7).

Sands chipped in her first double-double of the season with 10 rebounds and hitting eight-of-11 from the field. Luckhurst connected on six-of-nine from the field and four-of-seven from three-point range.

Jami Montagnino and D'Aundra Henry - playing in their final games of their careers - each had nine points. Henry added four assists and three rebounds.

Mississippi State (18-13), used its athleticism to out-rebound Tulane 56-34, including 23 on the offensive end. Ashley Langford led Tulane with seven assists, and ripped out three steals.

Henry scored five of Tulane's first seven points, but a put-back from MSU's Robin Porter game the Bulldogs an early 9-7 lead. Megan Valicevic kept the margin at two with an offensive rebound and basket while being fouled as Tulane trailed 16-14 with 13:16 left in the first.

Jami Montagnino cut to the rack to tie the game at 24-24, but a pair of threes by MSU's Tysheka Grimes helped the Bulldogs take a 39-32 lead, but Nikki Luckhurst answered with back-to-back three-pointers for Tulane to cut it to one. But the Bulldogs took a 43-40 lead into the half.


Luckhurst led Tulane with 11 first half points, while Grimes paced Mississippi State with 14.

In the second half, Mississippi State stretched the margin to six from the free throw line as Henry - Tulane's defensive stopped and 26th in the nation in steals - was called for three touch fouls in a span of 2:10.

Ashley Langford connected on a three-pointer, but Porter once again answered. Luckhurst responded with her fourth three-pointer to pull the Wave within six, 61-55 with 10:23 left in the game.

Following an `and-one' from Sands, Montagnino nailed a three as the Wave crept to within 68-65. Alendra Brown scored inside to cut it to one, but Bethany Washington (of Houma, La.) charged to the basket to give the Bulldogs a 71-67 lead with 5:03 left.

With 2:49 left, Sands nailed a three from the wing to tie the game at 71-71. After a pair of MSU free throws and a lay-up by Sands, Alexis Rack hit a jumper from the paint with 56 seconds left.

Following a missed shot, Rack scored again as the Bulldogs ran out the clock.

Robin Porter grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, including nine offensive for Mississippi State.

Montagnino finishes her Tulane career with 1,111 points for her career, 14th all-time at Tulane, including fourth all-time in three-pointers.

Henry sits tied for 16th in her career, tied with Kim Bryant, at 1,054 points, having passed Lakethia Hampton (1,053). She also third all-time with 360 steals at Tulane.

The 2006-07 Green Wave finish the season at 26-7, the third-most wins in school history behind the 1996-97 and 1999-2000 teams which each finished 27-5 and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State advances to face the winner of Monday's Minnesota-Western Kentucky game.

Jennifer Sands shot 8-of-11 with her first double-double