AUSTIN — The Howard Payne Lady Jackets' hopes of a third consecutive American Southwest Conference West Division title were dealt a significant blow Saturday, thanks to one of their worst offensive outings of the season.
When the week began, the Lady Jackets were tied for the ASC West lead, but ended the week two games back of division front-runner Mary Hardin-Baylor with only five remaining following Saturday's 56-44 loss at Concordia.
The Lady Jackets (12-8, 8-4), coming off a 72-66 loss at Mary Hardin-Baylor (17-3, 10-2) Thursday night, mustered just 25 points through the first three periods against Concordia, thanks in part to back-to-back six-point frames in the second and third quarters.
HPU trailed Concordia (10-10, 6-6) by just two points, 15-13, after one quarter, but faced deficits of 29-19 at halftime and 47-25 through three periods.
On two other occasions Howard Payne scored fewer than 44 points this season, both times in losses to Division I opponents — 105-35 to Stephen F. Austin and 101-37 to Lamar.
Presley McKethan led Howard Payne with 16 points and ASC West Player of the Week Valarie Matlock chipped in 11, while the rest of the team managed just 17 points as only five other players scored. Jada Evans, Dominique Featherstone and Anastasia Willis finished with four points each, Djimonii Jackson added three points and Chelsey Harris recorded two.
Howard Payne shot just 28 percent (17 of 60) from the floor, including 15 percent (3 of 20) on three-pointers, and hit just 54 percent (7 of 13) of its free throws. The Lady Jackets also committed 22 turnovers and were outrebounded, 46-34.
Concordia connected on 36 percent (19 of 52) of its field goals, but 80 percent (16 of 20) of its free throws to offset its 31-turnover performance.
Jaela Dejean led all scorers with 21 points while Mercedes Ellison chipped in 13 for the Lady Tornados.
The Lady Jackets are off until Saturday when they host Sul Ross (6-14, 4-8) in an attempt to halt their two-game skid.