HPU to face East Texas Baptist at 5 p.m. Thursday in postseason opener

BELTON — The Howard Payne Lady Jackets' five-game win streak came to a crashing halt at the hands of the American Southwest Conference West Division champion Mary Hardin-Baylor Lady Crusaders, 80-41, Saturday afternoon.

Despite the defeat, the Lady Jackets (11-14, 8-8) are headed to their 16th consecutive ASC championship tournament as the No. 3 seed from the West Division. Howard Payne will tangle with East No. 2 seed East Texas Baptist (22-3, 13-3) at 5 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the eight-team, single-elimination event hosted by Mary Hardin-Baylor (23-2, 15-1).

In their regular-season finale against UHMB, the Lady Jackets shot an abysmal 21 percent (14 of 66) from the floor, including 4 of 23 on three-pointers, and a mere 53 percent (9 of 17) at the free throw line.

After mustering just nine points in the first period and facing a 12-point deficit, the Lady Jackets fell into a 44-22 hole at halftime. Then, in the third period, Howard Payne produced just two points and trailed 59-24 heading to the final frame.

ASC West Co-Player of the Week Chelsey Harris finished with 16 points for Howard Payne while Caprica Brooks and Payge Grable added eight points each. No other Lady Jacket contributed more than a bucket as Salina Ali, Anastasia Willis, Lily Janek and Julissa Ibarra chipped in two points each and Chesli Woodard added a free throw.

The Lady Jackets were also outrebounded 51-42 and committed 19 turnovers while creating 17 takeaways.

UMHB — which shot 48 percent (32 of 67), including 8 on 17 on three-pointers, and hit 67 percent (8 of 12) of its free throws — had five players finish in double figures. Hannah Holt led the charge with 17 points, Aubrie Elliott contributed 13 and Alicia Blackwell, Bethany McLeod and Allaira Jones poured in 10 points apiece.