ABILENE — Behind a 50-percent shooting effort and eight three-pointers, the Howard Payne Lady Jackets extended their win streak to nine games, capped a season sweep of the rival Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls and inched closer toward another American Southwest Conference West Division crown.

The Lady Jackets rolled past the Cowgirls, 85-66, Saturday as Howard Payne raced out to 23-point halftime lead. Hardin-Simmons, which also fell in Brownwood by an 81-59 count on Jan. 14, crept within seven points in the fourth period before a late HPU surge iced the victory.

Howard Payne improved to 14-8 overall and 8-3 in ASC action as the Lady Jackets now lead second-place Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-10, 6-5) — a 77-64 winner over Concordia Saturday — by two games with three conference outings remaining. Hardin-Simmons (9-13, 6-6), meanwhile, slipped to third in the ASC West race as the top four teams will venture to Tyler to battle the best four from the ASC East during the conference championship tournament Feb. 26-28.

ASC West Player of the Week Danyel Bradley led the HPU onslaught with 30 points, 10 assists and seven steals, while Presley McKethan chipped in 20 points and Sarahi Castillo also finished in double figures with 14 points. Micah Cisneroz contributed six points followed by Valarie Matlock and Jada Evans with four each, Yessenia Cazares with three and Kristin Cunningham and Erionna Brown with two points apiece.

The Lady Jackets drilled 33 of 66 field goal attempts, including 8 of 22 treys, and also sank 73 percent (11 of 15) of their free throws. In a rarity of late, Howard Payne was outrebounded, 26-24, but the Lady Jackets committed only eight turnovers compared to 19 by Hardin-Simmons.

The Cowgirls knocked down 43 percent (26 of 61) of their shots, 35 percent (7 of 20) of their treys and 70 percent (7 of 10) of their free throws. Addison Garcia finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, Madison Spears also added 14 points and Kayla Brown chipped in a dozen.

Howard Payne scored the first five points, 14 of the initial18 overall and owned a double-digit advantage, 14-4, with 3:51 left in the opening quarter. After one period, the Lady Jackets were in front 23-12 and the HPU defense yielded just six points in the second quarter.

Following a bucket by HSU’s Brown to start the second, Howard Payne reeled off 11 consecutive points to extend the lead to 20, 34-14, with 5:12 left before halftime. Bradley ignited the spurt with a three-pointer, then followed with a jumper ahead of layups from Castillo and Cazares. Cisneroz capped the run with a bucket in the paint as HSU went scoreless for a 5:03 stretch.

Leading 41-18 at halftime, the Lady Jackets coasted through the third quarter as McKethan accounted for the first 11 HPU points of the frame. In front 59-38 at the 1:42 mark after a bucket from Castillo, the Lady Jackets were outscored 7-0 to end the period as Hardin-Simmons crept within 59-45 after three periods.

The Cowgirls’ surge continued as Hardin-Simmons reduced the Howard Payne advantage to seven points, 69-62, with 5:57 left following a three-pointer from Kourtney Holyfield.

But the Lady Jackets responded with the next six points — two each from Bradley, Cisneroz and Castillo — to quickly stretch the lead to 75-62 with 4:06 to go.

After recording 44 points the first 15 minutes of the second half , Hardin-Simmons mustered just two buckets over the final four minutes as the Lady Jackets ended the game with a 16-4 run.

Howard Payne will wrap up the regular season with three consecutive home dates over the next two weeks — 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Concordia (9-10, 2-8), 1 p.m. Saturday against Mary Hardin-Baylor and 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 against Sul Ross (4-18, 1-10).




Conf. Overall


Howard Payne 8 3 14 8

Mary Hardin-Baylor 6 5 11 10

Hardin-Simmons 6 6 9 13

Concordia 2 8 9 10

Sul Ross 1 10 4 18

*McMurry x x 5 16

* ineligible for postseason/reclassifying



Conf. Overall


UT-Tyler 13 0 21 1

LeTourneau 9 4 14 8

East Texas Baptist 6 7 13 9

Louisiana College 6 7 8 12

UT-Dallas 5 6 13 8

Ozarks 2 8 9 9

*Belhaven x x 6 15

* ineligible for postseason/reclassifying


Saturday’s Games

Howard Payne 85, Hardin-Simmons 66

McMurry 86, Sul Ross 71

Mary Hardin Baylor 77, Concordia 64

LeTourneau 62, East Texas Baptist 52

UT-Tyler 105, Louisiana College 52

UT-Dallas 70, Belhaven 55