An overwhelming stretch midway through their American Southwest Conference women's basketball opener triggered the Howard Payne Lady Jackets' 82-52 rout of the the Sul Ross Lady Lobos Saturday afternoon at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Lady Jackets (5-5, 1-0) used a 42-14 run over the final 6:37 of the second period and all of the third quarter to establish a 60-34 advantage heading into the final 10-minute stanza.
Howard Payne converted 40 percent (30 of 75) of its field goals, 26 percent (9 of 35) of its three-pointers, and 52 percent (13 of 25) of its free throws. But the Lady Jackets also forced 29 turnovers, owned a 46-41 edge in rebounds and limited Sul Ross (2-8, 0-1) to 36 percent (19 of 52) shooting with just four treys.
Bria Neal led Howard Payne with 16 points; Mallory Garcia followed with 15 points on five three-pointers, Lily Janek also added 15 points with four treys; Delaney Ingram finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds; and Chelsey Harris recorded 10 points. Also scoring for the Lady Jackets were Salina Ali with eight points, Catlyn Ward with four, Julissa Ibarra with two and Anastasia Willis sank a free throw.
Only two Lady Lobos reached double figures in scoring — Ashley Nunez with 11 points and Chandre Nunez with 10.
Trailing 20-18 in the second period, a bucket from Ali pulled Howard Payne even, then Willis sank a free throw at the 5:48 mark to push the Lady Jackets in front for good, 21-20. A three-pointer from Garcia at the 3:11 juncture gave HPU a bit of breathing room, 24-20.
Leading 27-24, Ingram scored on an offensive putback and Garcia knocked down another three-pointer to extend the lead to 32-24 with 19 seconds left in the first half. Sul Ross added a free throw down the stretch and trailed 32-25 at halftime.
Howard Payne opened the second half with 12 points in a row to seize full control of the contest. Consecutive layups from Neal boosted the lead to double figures, 36-25, then Janek followed with back-to-back three-pointers to pad the cushion to 42-25. The final points of the run belonged to Ali on a pair of free throws that made the score 44-25 at 7:04 of the third quarter.
The lead eclipsed 20 points, 48-27, on a bucket by Ward with 4:08 left in the third and surpassed the 30-point mark, 81-50, with 1:26 remaining on a deuce from Harris.
Howard Payne is back in action at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2 when it welcomes ASC rival Belhaven.