Who the fourth-seeded Howard Payne Lady Jackets were playing in the opening round of the American Southwest Conference tournament has been known for a couple of weeks. The only question was when, and it now has been answered.
For the third time this season, the Lady Jackets (16-9, 15-7) and the fifth-seeded Louisiana College Lady Cats (15-9, 13-8) will square off at 5 p.m. Friday in Tyler in an ASC tournament quarterfinal contest.
The Lady Jackets, who carry a four-game win streak into the tournament, defeated Louisiana College, 80-65, on Feb. 15 in Brownwood as part of their current surge. Howard Payne also ventured to Pineville, La. on Jan. 9 and captured a 78-67 victory — the Lady Jackets’ first win over the Lady Cats on their home court since 2008.
Louisiana College has split its last four games, and since Jan. 25 are 5-4 in ASC action. But the Lady Cats have reached the ASC tournament final the past three seasons.
HPU is seeking its sixth ASC title and first since 2011.
In other first-round games, top seed and tournament host UT-Tyler (22-3, 20-2) will face No. 8 seed LeTourneau (10-14, 8-13) in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. nightcap.
Action begins at noon Friday when No. 3 seed Mary Hardin-Baylor (16-9, 16-7) battles No. 6 seed Ozarks (10-15, 9-13).
Meanwhile, No. 2 seed UT-Dallas (20-5, 17-5) will tangle with No. 7 seed Concordia (11-14, 9-13) in Friday’s 2:30 p.m. contest.
The winners of Friday’s first two games will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday in the first semifinal, while the winners of Friday’s final two games will clash at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the second semifinal.
The two semifinal survivors will face off at 2 p.m. Sunday with the ASC championship and an automatic bid in the NCAA Division III tournament at stake.