Bulletin Staff Report

PINEVILLE, La. – The Howard Payne Lady Jackets’ bid for their fourth straight American Southwest Conference championship began with a 73-68 quarterfinals victory over Mississippi College Thursday night at the conference tournament at H.O. West Fieldhouse.

The Lady Jackets (21-5), the second seed from the West Division, will face ASC East champion and tournament host Louisiana College (22-2) – a 72-69 first-round winner over Hardin-Simmons – in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. The winner will face either Mary Hardin-Baylor (21-5) or McMurry (17-9) in Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship game.

Howard Payne continued its hot shooting Friday, converting 48 percent (25-of-52) of its field goals and 40 percent (8-of-20) of its three-pointers. Mississippi College (19-7) – which defeated HPU, 74-60, in Clinton, Miss, on Dec. 21 – shot 41 percent (29-of-61) and just 18 percent (2-of-11) from beyond the three-point arc.

Brittany Zamora led the Lady Jackets with 21 points, followed by Hope Hohertz with 19 and Elaine Hobbs with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Hobbs reached 500 rebounds for her career with Friday’s effort.

Also scoring for Howard Payne were Clarissa Krum and Sarah Pfiester with seven points each, Katy Sarem with five and Roshonda Gayden with two points and seven boards.

Mississippi College received 26 points from Jennifer Wair, 19 points and 11 rebounds from Jalessa Taylor and 10 points from Anna Patterson.

Leading 42-40 with 14:09 left in the contest, the Lady Jackets reeled off 10 straight points to seize control, 52-40, with 10:33 remaining.

Hohertz started the surge with a three-pointer, then Hobbs chipped in two free throws before Zamora drained a trey. Hohertz later capped the run with a jumper.

Mississippi College closed the gap to 54-48 with 6:43 to go, but HPU stretched the lead to 12 points, 60-48, on buckets by Hohertz, Gayden and Pfiester.

Leading 66-61 with 53 seconds left, Hobbs sank 5-of-6 free throws, while Sarem drained a pair to keep Mississippi College at bay.