Photo by William Roberts/True To The Cru
Women’s basketball pulls out first road win under interim head coach Kendra Foreman
BROWNWOOD, Texas- Kendra Foreman has her first road victory as interim head coach of the Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s basketball program. A strong second half on Saturday afternoon gave the Crusaders a sizable 85-60 victory over Howard Payne, as UMHB bounced back from Thursday’s disappointing 77-74 loss at Sul Ross State.
The win moves UMHB to 15-6 overall, with a 10-4 record in the American Southwest Conference. HPU, in a sort of rebuilding year under first-year head coach Presley Fisk, remains winless in the league, at 0-14.
Despite the differentiation in records, the two opponents were competitive through the first two quarters, with UMHB leading by only a single point, 16-15, at the end of the first. Arieona Rosborough and Ashley Faux helped the Cru gain a 4-0 lead early, and by the time the clock hit 5:19, Catalina Cortez’s jumper put the visitors from Belton in front 10-3. HPU converted on just one shot from the field in the first five minutes of play, but an 8-3 run from the Yellow Jackets made it a one-possession game once again with under 1:30 to play. After Caitlyn Ward’s layup cut the deficit to one with 34 seconds, HPU had consecutive chances at taking the lead, but both shots were blocked by UMHB.
It turned out to be the closest HPU came to the lead. A Lauren Baker three-pointer, and Ashley Faux’s layup and ensuing free throw created a seven-point advantage right off the bat in the second quarter. The Crusaders shot an even 50 percent in second, while outscoring the opposition, 25-12.
UMHB’s 10-1 scoring spurt midway through the third quarter allowed for the breathing room necessary to defend the lead comfortably. Catalina Cortez’s three-pointer with 2:08 in the period put UMHB up by 20-plus points for the first time in the contest, leading 61-40. The Crusaders cruised from there, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 21-11 in the fourth quarter.
HPU’s 22 turnovers turned into 19 points for UMHB, and though the hosts got to the free throw line 28 times, they made just 16 of them. The Crusaders, on the other hand, were 12-of-15 at the line, and at no point surrendered the lead.
Ashley Faux had an incredible performance, with a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. It marked her second double-double of the year. Rosborough had 15 points and St. Edward’s transfer McCall Hampton scored a season-high 14, along with six rebounds.
Men’s basketball dominates in win over Howard Payne
BROWNWOOD- The UMHB men’s basketball team is well aware of a simple fact: if they win out, they win the ASC regular season title. After Thursday’s win at Sul Ross State, head coach Clif Carroll preached the importance of focusing on the immediate game in front of his team. The battle for first-place in the league with UT-Dallas, set for Feb. 9 in Belton, would not be a battle for first place without a win on Saturday afternoon.
So inside the spacious Brownwood Colesium, the Crusaders put on a clinic against Howard Payne, rolling to a 95-47 win, their 10th straight.
The 48-point margin was just half of it. After converting on just two three-point attempts in each of the last two contests, the Cru connected on nine, good enough for a percentage of 40.9 from beyond the arc. They shot 52.4 percent overall, out-rebounded the Yellow Jackets 59-26, and were up 49-27 at the halfway point.
The win moves UMHB to 17-4 overall, and 12-2 in the American Southwest Conference. HPU drops to 2-18, with a 1-13 conference record.
UMHB scored the game’s first nine points, five of which came from Nathan Stolz, before HPU first scored at the 16:56 mark. Kyle Wright immediately responded to the dunk from HPU’s Harold Myart by swishing a three-pointer that made it 12-2. The Yellow Jackets came within five points when Armonie Ramey successfully converted on a free throw that followed a layup in which he was fouled, but by the time the next two minutes had elapsed, UMHB was back up by double digits, leading 22-10.
Much like the first half, UMHB came out of the locker room for the final 20 minutes of play with an offensive spark. Ty Prince scored on a layup. Then Stolz added a layup of his own. Gibson Hearne’s three-pointer added to the scoring run, and within the first four minutes of the half, UMHB was in front 60-27, thanks to an 11-0 spurt. The most the Cru led by in the second half was 50, when Keegan Pugh’s layup fell through with 23 seconds left.
The scoring was evenly distributed, with 10 players scoring at least five points. Josiah Johnson had a team-best 14 points, and Luke Feely tallied nine rebounds. UMHB has shot above 50 percent in three of its last five matchups.
The UMHB men’s and women’s basketball teams return to Belton on Thursday night, hosting UT-Dallas in two pivotal duels. The men’s matchup pits the top two teams in the league against each other, with potential ASC Tournament hosting implications on the line. The women’s matchup will also play a role in conference tournament seeding. The first meeting between the two this season saw UMHB pull out a 53-49 win.