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Tech's Long says thanks, but no thanks to WNIT

RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech coach Chris Long turned down an automatic bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament on Saturday, saying it's the NCAA Tournament or nothing for the Lady Techsters.

"Louisiana Tech women's basketball has been about playing in the NCAA Tournament," Long, whose team had been one of two that had been in every women's tournament since the NCAA first took them over in the 1981-82 season.

"We did not do enough this season to reach that goal. With all due respect to the WNIT, we are not interested in an invitation."

Long's announcement came three days after Tech lost 63-57 to New Mexico State in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Western Athletic Conference tournament, ending its hope for a 26th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Although no official bids will be made until after the NCAA Tournament selection show Monday, the WNIT had asked Tech athletic director Jim Oakes if the school was interested. And, because Boise State beat New Mexico in the WAC championship game Saturday, Tech (17-12, 12-4) had an "automatic bid" by WNIT rules, because it tied the Broncos for the regular-season title.