With a comeback that would have been an incredible chapter to the storied season for the LeTourneau University, women’s basketball team came up short in an 82-75 loss to Howard Payne University in the American Southwest Conference Tournament semifinals.
LeTourneau (17-10) entered the third quarter behind 65-48 and as much as 18 in the fourth quarter before a 20-4 run cut the deficit to two, 75-73 with 1:33 left to play.
Howard Payne (18-9) junior Jessica Leaks hit her second 3-pointer of the game after a turnover by LETU that put HPU ahead 78-73 with 1:05 to play that ended the comeback hopes for LETU. Leaks finished the game with 16 points as HPU landed three players in double figures including senior Danyel Bradley, who had a game-high 34 points and junior Sarahi Castillo added 13.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, tonight. But, I am so proud of the fight in this team,” said LeTourneau University head coach Leslie Reinecker. “They battled until the very end and left it all on the court. The future is bright for this group. We made a lot of history, this season and it was a fantastic ride.”
Junior Crystal Jones finished with a team-high 18 points and tied a season-high with nine rebounds to lead LETU and three players in double figures. Senior Ashley Stephens ended her career with her seventh double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Plus, junior LaTanya Drakes had 19 points and game-high 15 rebounds for her eighth double-double.
Bradley put Howard Payne ahead with her first of two 3-pointers with 6:51 left in the opening quarter for a 9-6 lead. HPU remained in front for the rest of the first half, holding LETU to 24 points in the first 20 minutes. The 24 points were the second-lowest output of the season for LeTourneau. Twice, in the second quarter, HPU managed to stretch the lead to as much as 18.
Despite the double-digit deficit, there remained a lot of fight within the LETU roster. A 3-point play by Drakes midway through the fourth quarter started a rally for LETU, who would eventually cut the deficit to two.
The loss ends the season for LeTourneau, who reached the ASC Tournament just for the third time in program history.
A three-run sixth inning broke a 4-4 tie to propel the LeTourneau University baseball team to an 8-5 win over Hardin-Simmons University on Friday at Conrad-Vernon Field in Longview.
Senior Dylan Wadyko, who had his best game in his LETU career with a 3-for-4 effort with three RBI to lead a 10-hit attack, led the YellowJackets (4-5, 1-0 ASC). Wadyko had an RBI single and a two-RBI single in the fourth that tied the game at 4.
LETU starting pitcher junior Jordan Carns improved to 1-2 after a 7.2 inning outing, spreading 12 hits and striking out three for the win. Freshman Will Bradshaw pitched the final 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
The Cowboys (2-5, 0-1 ASC) out hit LeTourneau by a 12-10 margin with Taylor Cooling and Jamie Ball each recording three hits in the loss. Starting pitcher Jeremy Hallmark picked up the loss, allowing eight hits, seven runs (all earned) in a five-inning stint to fall to 0-2.
LeTourneau took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when senior Sean Sellers scored after a double to begin the inning. Hardin-Simmons took a 4-1 lead in the top half of the fourth on five hits. The YellowJackets rallied to tie it in the fourth with three runs on three hits with two outs. Earlier in the inning, freshman Jacob Faubion singled in junior Kyle Jacobs, who had reached earlier in the inning on a hit by pitch. A balk and groundout moved Jacobs to third with two out. Then, a double by freshman Lee Hosie put runners on second and third for Wadyko, who brought in a pair of runs to tie the game.
After a three-run sixth inning, LETU added to its lead on a sacrifice fly by Jacobs in the seventh inning. Hardin-Simmons closed out the scoring with a run in the top of the eighth.
The two teams will wrap up the weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon at Conrad-Vernon Field. The first contest will be a seven-inning matchup, followed by a nine-inning game.