Women's Basketball Championship: Howard Payne Claims Title With 49-40
Win Over McMurry
February 25, 2007
BROWNWOOD, Texas Neither team led by double digits or even shot better than 31 percent from the field, but it was Meia Daniels and third-ranked Howard Payne that prevailed 49-40 over No. 10 McMurry to claim the American Southwest Conference womens basketball championship on Sunday afternoon in front of a record-breaking crowd of 3,680 Brownwood Coliseum.
West Division top seed HPU (27-1) won its second conference title in three years, while McMurry (24-4), the second seed from the West and the only team to have beaten the Lady Jackets this season, was denied a chance at back-to-back titles.
Head coach Chris Kielsmeir and HPU will be making their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Womens Championship, as the ASC winner earns and automatic berth. McMurry will await word of an at-large bid.
Daniels, a 5-8 junior guard, was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player after averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and 3.7 steals over HPUs wins over Ozarks, Hardin-Simmons and McMurry. On Sunday, she had a team-high 14 points nine in the first half and six rebounds.
The attendance was the highest ever for a regular season Division III womens basketball game, breaking the mark of 3,154 set by Edgewood and Hope in November of 2005. Only the 1996 national championship game between Mount Union and Wisconsin-Oshkosh (4,001) drew a bigger gate.
HPU held only a 27-26 lead at halftime, but built up a quick 33-26 lead after Daniels, Stacey Blalock (13 points, nine rebounds) and Molly Buker (seven points) all recorded points. McMurrys first basket after the break didnt come until a Maigen Sawyer 3-pointer at the 15:25 mark.
A jump shot by 2006 tournament MVP Tarra Richardson (13 points, eight rebounds) at 14:38 cut HPUs lead to 34-31, but McMurry would go on another cold-shooting slump not scoring until Jabri Butler hit two free throws a little over 5 minutes later to make it 39-35. Up to that point, McMurry was shooting just 20 percent from the field.
The closest McMurry would get to HPU was 41-38 with 4:27 remaining on two free throws by Richardson. Kim Hoffman (eight points, nine rebounds) tallied the games next five points in under 1 minute to seal the win.
Sawyer had 14 points to lead McMurry, which shot 27.3 percent from the field hitting only five of 29 attempts from the field in the second half. It made only four of 22 attempts from 3-point range. Senior point guard Symbri Tuttle, the ASCs all-time assists leader, was held to two assists and three points.
Howard Payne struggled from the field as well, shooting 30.2 percent hitting 5 of 17 shots from the field after halftime.
McMurry raced out to a 9-1 lead over the games first 3 and a half minutes getting points from four different players. Howard Payne didnt take its first lead until the 12:33 mark in the first half. McMurrys last advantage came 7 minutes later, 22-20.
Other all-tournament selections were HPUs Blalock and Buker, McMurrys Richardson and Tuttle, East Texas Baptists Marzetta Sheppard and Hardin-Simmons Laci Walker.
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