venged an earlier American Southwest Conference defeat and continued to build momentum for the conference championship tournament with a 73-69 victory over Concordia Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Lady Jackets (15-9, 11-5) suffered a 56-44 loss at Concordia on Jan. 27, which opened the door for Mary Hardin-Baylor to capture the ASC West title — which it did with Thursday’s 96-51 victory over Sul Ross, ending Howard Payne’s run of two straight ASC West crowns.
Howard Payne will host Mary Hardin-Baylor (20-4, 13-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday with hopes of carrying a three-game win streak into next weekend’s ASC championship tournament.
In the victory over Concordia (13-11, 9-7), the Lady Jackets trailed by as many as seven points in the third period and entered the fourth quarter down 55-51. But a three-pointer by Presley McKethan opened the fourth period scoring, trimming Concordia’s lead to a single point and setting the stage for a 22-point HPU onslaught over the final 10 minutes.
A Jada Evans layup pushed the Lady Jackets back in front, 56-55, with 9:04 to go, but Concordia countered and regained a 60-57 advantage with 7:04 left.
The Lady Jackets responded with 11 of the next 14 points to secure a 68-63 edge with 2:29 remaining. Knotted at 63, Valarie Matlock scored the next five points to give HPU the lead.
After a Concordia free throw with 1:17 left made the score 68-64, Chelsey Harris delivered the dagger with a three-pointer with 58 seconds left.
Trailing 73-66 with 19 seconds remaining, Concordia added two more buckets late buckets but was unable to pose a serious threat to the Lady Jackets in the closing seconds.
Djimonii Jackson led the charge for HPU with 21 points trailed by 16 each from Matlock and Evans, 12 from McKethan, three each from Dominique Featherstone and Harris and two points from Chelsi Woodard.
Concordia, which shot 49 percent to HPU’s 44 and owned a 40-36 edge in rebounds, received 19 points from Payton Berger, 18 from Mercedes Ellison and 16 from Jaela DeJean.