ALPINE – The Howard Payne Lady Jackets notched their seventh victory in the last eight games, and held their second foe in the last four contests below 50 points in a 64-48 road triumph over the Sul Ross Lady Lobos Saturday afternoon.
Two-time American Southwest Conference West champion Howard Payne (10-6, 6-2) also moved back within a half-game of the division lead with the win, thanks to McMurry’s 68-63 victory over Mary Hardin-Baylor. UMHB (14-3, 7-2) and McMurry (9-6, 7-2) currently share first place in the West.
Howard Payne limited Sul Ross (5-11, 3-5) to just 27 percent shooting (16 of 60) for the game, including a 20 percent (5 of 24) effort in the first half as the Lady Jackets built a 29-21 halftime edge.
The Lady Jackets had their own offensive struggles, converting only 33 percent (24 of 72) of their field goals, including 30 percent (11 of 36) in the opening two quarters. Howard Payne also committed 21 turnovers, but forced 26 with 18 coming on steals. HPU finished with a narrow 49-47 edge in rebounds as well, and a 21-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
Valarie Matlock paced the Howard Payne effort with 23 points and seven steals, Djimonii Jacksson chipped in a dozen points and Anastasia Willis scored eight points and collected 15 rebounds. Other contributors on offense include Presley McKethan and Dominique Featherstone with six points apiece, Jada Evans with five, and Chelsey Harris and Kristin Cunningham with two points each.
Erica Powell was the only Sul Ross player in double figures with 10 points, while Taylor Gass and Lizette Heredia added nine apiece.
The Lady Jackets host Hardin-Simmons (4-11, 2-6) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and McMurry at 2 p.m. Saturday.