Bulletin Staff Report
ALPINE — The No. 2 Howard Payne Lady Jackets pulled away from the Sul Ross Lady Lobos in the final 15 minutes for a 75-53 American Southwest Conference victory Saturday, which completed a regular-season sweep for HPU.
Meia Daniels led Howard Payne (6-0, 3-0) with 23 points, seven rebounds and six steals, while Kim Hoffman chipped in 14 points and five boards. Freshman Katy Sarem added a career-high nine points, all of which came in the second half.
Nitra Woods led Sul Ross (2-4, 1-2) with 16 points and nine boards, while Janice Mitchell finished with 14 points — including a half-court three-pointer to end the first half.
The Lady Jackets owned a seven-point halftime lead in their first meeting against Sul Ross — an 84-51 victory on Nov. 26 — and found themselves ahead by just six points, 34-28, at intermission Saturday.
Howard Payne was clinging to a 42-36 advantage five minutes into the second half, but reeled off 18 of the next 20 points to boost its advantage to 60-38 with 6:44 left.
Daniels scored the first four points of the run, Sarem tallied six points, Stacey Blalock added four of her six points for the game, and Hope Hohertz and Mionca Hall contributed buckets as well.
HPU’s lead peaked at 25 points, 72-47, on a Hohertz deuce with 3:16 remaining.
Leading 7-5 early, the Lady Jackets pieced together a 10-2 run that gave them a 17-7 advantage with 14:17 left in the first half. HPU maintained its double-digit throughout much of the rest of the opening half.
Daniels began the run with a bucket at the 17:07 juncture, then Stephanie Brewer and Daniels drained consecutive three-pointers to increase the lead to 15-7. Daniels — who tallied 12 points in the first half — scored again to cap the run.
HPU’s first-half lead peaked at 13 points, 24-11, on Elaine Hobbs’ bucket with 9:48 left in the half. But the Yellow Jackets scored just six points over the final seven minutes of the opening half and Sul Ross turned the ball over just five times in the first half, which allowed the Lady Lobos to stay close.