Bulletin Staff Report
CLINTON, Miss. – The No. 6 Howard Payne Lady Jackets’ eastern swing became the nightmare before Christmas as they suffered their second straight loss on their two-game road trip.
On the heels of Saturday’s 69-54 loss at Louisiana College, the Lady Jackets were hammered, 74-60, by the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws Monday night.
The loss dropped Howard Payne to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in American Southwest Conference action, and reduced the Lady Jackets’ lead to one game over Concordia (4-3, 3-2) and Texas Lutheran (4-4, 3-2) atop the West Division standings.
For the second game in a row the Lady Jackets’ opponent established a new season-high in points against the HPU defense as ASC East co-leader Mississippi College (8-1, 5-1) converted 52 percent (27-of-52) of its field goals and 38 percent (5-of-13) of its three-point attempts.
Howard Payne, conversely, shot 42 percent from the floor (25-of-60) and 19 percent (3-of-16) from beyond the three-point arc. In the first half, HPU connected on just 30 percent (10-of-33) of its field goals and missed all 10 three-point tries.
Hope Hohertz led the Lady Jackets with a game-high 22 points, while Elaine Hobbs chipped in a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Brittany Zamora added seven points, Roshonda Gayden scored six off the bench, Clarissa Krum and Jasmin Thomas tallied four points apiece and Tiffany Warner and Sarah Pfiester both finished with two points.
Mississippi College received 21 points from Anna Patterson and 14 each from Jaleesa Taylor and Jennifer Wair.
Trailing 29-23 at halftime after a poor start offensively, the Lady Jackets fell victim to a 15-4 Mississippi College run to open the second half. Following a bucket from Hobbs 38 seconds into the half, Howard Payne did not convert another field goal until Gayden found the net at the 14:17 mark. In the 5:05 between buckets, two free throws from Hohertz were the only points the Lady Jackets could produce.
With 12:51 remaining in the contest, Howard Payne trailed 48-32, but the Lady Jackets mounted a rally to close the gap to single digits. Buckets from Pfiester, Warner, Thomas and Gayden over a 1:16 stretch allowed Howard Payne to trim the deficit to 48-40 at the 10:35 mark.
After a near two-minute scoreless spell, Elizabeth Brooks drained a three-pointer to reestablish the Lady Choctaws’ double-digit lead – 51-40 – and the Lady Jackets never threatened again over the final 8:48.
Howard Payne’s last lead came with 15:04 left in the first half following a bucket by Hobbs, but Mississippi College outscored the Lady Jackets 14-4 to grab a 17-10 lead with 8:39 left before halftime.
The Lady Jackets will return to action Dec. 31 against No. 23 Cal Lutheran (6-1) at the West Coast Classic in Thousand Oaks, Calif.