SHERMAN, Texas –The Austin College women's basketball team got a double-double from Bryce Frank and the 'Roos managed to pull ahead down the stretch to defeat Howard Payne 69-62 in the team's season opener on Friday night in Hughey Gym.
Frank made 11-of-15 shots in the game and added four steals and a pair of assists to pace Austin College as the 'Roos held the Yellow Jackets to just seven third quarter points, breaking open what had been a four-point halftime margin and heading into the fourth with a 57-47 lead. Howard Payne cut it to a 63-59 game with 3:52 left to play, but a dagger three from Ann Savage with under a minute remain made it 66-59 and iced the game.
Both teams started the game cold on the offensive end, with three and a half minutes coming off the clock before Frank scored the first bucket. The senior forward opened the game hitting just 1-of-5 shots before making 10 straight the rest of the way. The 'Roos scored the first seven points of the game before HPU countered with 11 unanswered, and the Howard Payne lead grew to 17-10 with 1:56 left in the opening quarter. Threes from Kacie West and Reagan Chiaverini helped give the 'Roos a 20-17 lead after one.
The 'Roos and Jackets each found their offense in the second quarter, with Austin College outscoring HPU 24-23 in the frame to take a 44-40 lead at the break. Natalie McCoy drove the lane and finished for her first collegiate bucket with four seconds left to give the 'Roos some cushion heading into the locker room.
Austin College pushed the margin to as many as 12 points in the third quarter, with West knocking down a three to make it a 57-45 game with 1:43 left in the period, and after HPU's comeback bid, the 'Roos took control in the game's closing moments.
Chiaverini was the only other 'Roo in double-digits, scoring 10 points and adding three boards and three assists. Savage finished with eight points, six assists, and five rebounds, and West finished with nine points. Austin College shot 46.3% from the field and out-rebounded the Jackets 44-36, but 24 turnovers for the 'Roos kept things close.
The 'Roos are off until November 17, when they head to Conway, Arkansas to take on Millsaps as part of the SCAC/SAA Challenge. They will then take on host-school Hendrix on November 18.