Whitworth falls to Howard Payne 78-75 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth falls to Howard Payne 78-75

Photo: Whitworth Athletics Photo: Whitworth Athletics

By Whitworth Athletics

TYLER, Texas – Jada Evans scored 28 points and led an impressive fourth quarter comeback by the Howard Payne Yellowjackets to secure a 78-75 win over the Whitworth Pirates.

The Pirates fall to 6-4 on the season and 1-1 on their Texas road trip. Howard Payne moves to 7-5 after the comeback victory.

Madison Moffat led the Pirates with a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Evans' 28 points were the most for either team. 

In the game's first five minutes, the Pirates struggled to score against an aggressive Howard Payne defense. Alli Kieckbusch kept Whitworth in the game by scoring the Bucs first five points. She found herself open on for a layup on the fast break and used a nifty pump fake to earn an and-1.

Grace Douglas picked up the scoring from there, going on a personal 5-0 run to lift the Pirates into their first lead of the game at. The senior knocked down an open three off an assist from Camy Aguinaldo and followed the trey with a steal and layup. Whitworth finished the first quarter with an 18-15 lead.

The Bucs continued their strong play in the second quarter. A 14-5 run, highlighted by a full-court pass from Aguinaldo to Kieckbusch, earned the Pirates a 10-point lead heading into the period's media timeout.

Shannon Tran and Lexi Tinney combined for seven points in the second half of the quarter, and the Pirates took a 45-33 lead into halftime. Entering the break, Whitworth was shooting 53% from the field and 43% from three. Douglas' 14 points led both teams.

Moffat kept the Pirates in the lead in the third quarter, scoring nine of her 21 points in the period. The Yellowjackets, however, used two 5-0 runs to cut into Whitworth's lead and trailed 60-54 heading into the fourth quarter. 

Howard Payne mounted their comeback in the final five minutes. Down 70-63, the Yellowjackets went on an 8-0 run to take a 71-70 lead. Evans led the charge with a jumper and three-pointer during the run. 

The run set up an exhilarating final 2:35. After three free throws from Moffat and Kieckbusch gave the Pirates a 73-71 lead, Evans tied the game at 73. Aguinaldo responded with a layup of her own before Djimoni Jackson took the lead back to Howard Payne with a pair of free throws.

An Evans jumper and free throw gave the Yellowjackets a 78-75 lead with 1.8 seconds remaining and Tran's three-pointer fell short to secure a win for Howard Payne.  

The Yellowjackets shot just 41% from the field and 18% from three, but forced 29 Pirate turnovers and took 15 more shots than the Bucs. Whitworth shot 54% overall and 40% from beyond the arc.

Douglas (16 pts) and Kieckbusch (14 pts) contributed double-figure scoring for the Pirates. Whitworth outrebounded Howard Payne 37-26.

Up next, the Pirates take on Texas-Tyler. Whitworth squares off with the Patriots at 10:30 a.m. PST on Wednesday, December 20.

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