Bulletin Staff Report

PINEVILLE, La. - The No. 6 Howard Payne Lady Jackets were handed their first defeat of the season Saturday afternoon, falling to the Louisiana College Lady Cats, 69-54, in American Southwest Conference women’s basketball action.

Coming off their most lopsided win since the 2007-08 national championship campaign - an 87-32 thrashing of Sul Ross on Dec. 12 - the ASC West-leading Lady Jackets (7-1, 5-1) surrendered more points to ASC East leader Louisiana College (7-1, 5-1) than any other foe this season.

Howard Payne was allowing just 52 points per contest and had not given up more than 63 points in a game - that being a six-point win at East Texas Baptist on Nov. 30.

Louisiana College drained 48 percent of its field goal attempts, including 56 percent of its three-pointers (5-of-9). The Lady Jackets, meanwhile, sank just 32 percent (20-of-63) of their shots and only 23 percent (seven) of their 30 three-point tries.

HPU did own a 40-31 edge in rebounds, including 17 to eight on the offensive glass, but Louisiana College forced 16 turnovers and gave the ball away only 13 times.

Brittany Zamora paced the Lady Jacket offense with 12 points, followed by Katy Sarem with 11 points and Hope Hohertz with nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Roshonda Gayden and Sarah Pfiester both contributed six points off the bench, Elaine Hobbs finished with four points and Clarissa Krum and Jasmin Thomas chipped in three points apiece.

Louisiana College had four players finish in double figures - Christy Pantallion with 22 points and seven rebounds, Voneshia Williams with a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards, Briana Lewis with 14 points and Tillisha Givens with 11.

HPU trailed by 11 points, 27-16, with 7:16 left in the first half and by seven points at halftime, 31-24. But behind a 12-2 run to start the second, the Lady Jackets surged to a 36-33, lead with 15:04 remaining in the game.

A bucket by Hobbs, two from Sarem and a three-pointer by Zamora allowed HPU to pull even at 33-all, then Sarem hit a free throw and Hohertz scored on a jumper to give HPU a 36-33 edge.

Louisiana College, however, regained not only the momentum, but the lead, over the next two minutes. With 7:38 left, Howard Payne trailed just 47-44 following a Thomas jumper, but the Lady Cats scored 10 of the next 12 points to regain a double-digit edge - 57-46 - with 5:15 remaining.

HPU closed the gap to 59-54 with 3:18 to go on a trey by Sarem, but Louisiana College answered with a game closing 10-0 run as the Lady Jackets missed their last eight shots.

Howard Payne will attempt to bounce back at Mississippi College (7-1, 4-1) - which trails Louisiana College by a half-game in the ASC East standings following Saturday’s 81-59 win over Sul Ross - at 5:30 p.m. Monday in their final game before the Christmas break.