ALPINE — Trailing at halftime, the Howard Payne Lady Jackets dominated the third quarter en route to a 79-64 victory over the Sul Ross Lady Lobos Saturday afternoon to remain tied for third place in the American Southwest Conference West Division standings.
Howard Payne (8-11, 4-6), which won for just the second time in the last seven outings, was knotted with Sul Ross ((5-14, 3-7) at 14 after one quarter and faced a slim 32-31 deficit at halftime. The Lady Jackets then doubled up Sul Ross in the third period, owning a 27-13 scoring advantage to carry a 58-45 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Jackets — who earlier defeated Sul Ross, 82-52, in Brownwood on Dec. 21 — shot 44 percent (31 of 70) from the floor and sank seven three-pointers, but converted just 48 percent (10 of 21) of their free throws. HPU also owned a 42-39 edge in rebounds and forced 19 turnovers while committed just 14.
Bria Neal and Chelsey Harris each poured in 13 points to pace the Lady Jackets trailed by 12 from Lily Janek, 11 from Julissa Ibarra, 10 from Catlyn Ward, nine from Salina Ali, seven from Delaney Ingram and four points from Mallory Garcia.
Sul Ross knocked down just 34 percent (19 of 56) of its field goal attempts and only four three-pointers, but sank 85 percent (22 of 26) of its free throws to keep the contest close.
Jackie Saucedo scored a team-high 13 points for the Lady Lobos followed by 11 each from Kaylee Martinez and Jocelyne Roque, and 10 from Kensi Parker.
In the decisive third quarter, Janek nailed a three-pointer to start the scoring by Sul Ross quickly evened the score at 34. Still tied at 37, Howard Payne reeled off 14 points in a row to seize control of the contest.
Harris broke the tie at 6:24, scoring on a jumper, which was followed by a bucket from Ali, another trey from Janek, a layup from Harris, a three-pointer by Harris and a layup from Ibarra, which made the score 51-37 with 3:54 left in the frame.
After Sul Ross crept back within 10 points, 51-41, HPU fired off seven more in succession — a trey by Ward and layups from Ali and Garcia — as the lead stood at 58-41 with 1:24 left in the third.
The cushion continued to grow for Howard Payne in the fourth period with the lead peaking at 20 points, 67-47, on a bucket by Ibarra with 5:56 to go.
The Lady Jackets are back on the road at 5:30 p.m. Thursday as they tangle with Concordia (7-12, 4-6) — which is coming off a 95-49 win over McMurry (9-10, 2-8) — in a battle of third-place teams in the ASC West.