The Howard Payne Lady Jackets were unable to carry a three-game win streak into the American Southwest Conference championship tournament, as they suffered a season sweep at the hands of West Division champ Mary Hardin-Baylor, 82-62, Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Lady Jackets (15-10, 11-6) will head into the ASC tournament as the No. 2 seed from the West and battle East No. 3 seed East Texas Baptist (19-6) at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Jackets lost the first meeting, 82-79, in Brownwood on Jan. 8. ASC East Division champion UT-Dallas is the tournament host.
After pulling into a tie with Mary Hardin-Baylor (21-4, 14-3) for first place in the ASC West standings on Jan. 20, the Lady Jackets finished the regular season with a 3-4 record.
In Saturday’s loss to UMHB, the Lady Jackets trailed 23-11 after one quarter and were forced the play catch up the rest of the afternoon. HPU closed the gap to 37-28 at halftime, but fell behind by 16 points in the third quarter before facing a 59-49 deficit at the start of the fourth.
In the final quarter, Howard Payne crept within four points, 61-57, on a three-pointer by Presley McKethan with 8:04 to go. UMHB answered with nine consecutive points to pad its cushion to 70-57 with 5:22 left. The Lady Jackets got no closer than 11 points as Mary Hardin-Baylor pulled away down the stretch.
UMHB shot 44 percent (29 of 66) compared to HPU’s 32 percent (22 of 69) and owned a 20-13 edge in points at the free throw line. The Lady Jackets also lost 24 turnovers that resulted in 25 UMHB points, while creating 19 turnovers but only generating eight points.
Valarie Matlock tallied a team-best 15 points for HPU followed by Caprica Brooks with 14, McKethan and Arriyanna Forch with eight apiece, Chelsi Woodard with six, Djimonii Jackson with five, and Jada Evans and Kristin Cunningham with three each.
UMHB received 25 points from Hannah Holt, 18 from Aubrie Elliott, 17 points and 10 rebounds from Kendall Rollins and 11 points from Haven Neal.
ASC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Thursday, February 22
• Game 1: (E2) UT Tyler vs. (W3) Concordia Texas, Noon
• Game 2: (W1) Mary Hardin-Baylor vs. (E4) Louisiana College, 2:30 p.m.
• Game 3: (W2) Howard Payne vs. (E3) East Texas Baptist, 5 p.m.
• Game 4: (E1) UT Dallas vs. (W4) Hardin-Simmons, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 23
• Game 5: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 5 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 24
• Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 6 p.m.