RICHARDSON — The worst offensive outing of the season came at the worst time possible for the Howard Payne Lady Jackets.
The West Division No. 2 seed Lady Jackets were ousted in the opening round of the American Southwest Conference Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament following Thursday afternoon’s 50-36 loss to East Division No. 3 seed East Texas Baptist.
Howard Payne (15-11), which dropped five of its last eight games, shot a horrid 19 percent (13 of 67) from the floor with five of its buckets coming from beyond the three-point arc. The Lady Jackets struggled from the free throw line as well, converting a paltry 31 percent (5 of 16) of their attempts.
The Lady Jackets had scored 35 and 37 points in previous games this season, but that was against Division I competition in Stephen F. Austin and Lamar. HPU’s previous low-water mark offensively against Division III competition occurred Jan. 27 in 56-44 road loss to ASC West foe Concordia.
In their 95-65 home victory over Sul Ross on Feb. 3, the Lady Jackets scored more points in the fourth period — 41 — than they mustered in Thursday’s ASC tournament opener. The 36-point output was 30 points below HPU’s season-average of 66 points per outing.
Howard Payne trailed ETBU 9-5 after one quarter, 26-14 at halftime and faced a 36-24 deficit through three periods.
Dominique Featherstone finished with nine points for the Lady Jackets followed by eight from Presley McKethan, seven from Caprica Brooks, six from Valarie Matlock, three from Jada Evans, two from Arriyanna Forch and one point from Anastasia Willis.
Howard Payne forced 31 turnovers which resulted in 14 points, but was outrebounded 49-41 and committed 20 turnovers.
East Texas Baptist (20-6) — which also defeated Howard Payne, 82-79 in Brownwood during the regular season — shot a modest 38 percent (15 of 40) from the floor, but did convert 65 percent (17 of 26) of its free throws.
Sydney Saxton was the only player to finish in double figures with 12 points followed by nine from Karley McHenry, eight from Amanda Wilson, six from Mallory Stephens, four each from Kim Childress and Erin Meeks, three from Madison McCoy and two points apiece from Brittney Jones and Dree Roberson.
ETBU advances to face tournament host UT-Dallas (23-3), an 86-56 winner over Hardin-Simmons Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The other semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday will feature Concordia (15-11), a 79-68 winner over UT-Tyler, against Mary Hardin-Baylor (22-4), which ousted Louisiana College, 71-61.