BELTON — Taylor Tucker had 26 points and 14 rebounds, Macy Moore added 24 points and Mary Hardin-Baylor reversed its recent history with Louisiana College in a 99-85 victory Thursday night at Mayborn Campus Center.
The last three matchups with the Lady Wildcats were nightmares for the Lady Crusaders, who suffered losses by 40 and 50 points last year before seeing an 18-point lead dissolve in a 90-84 overtime loss in this season’s first meeting back in December.
Thursday’s tilt was a different tale for UMHB (11-7, 11-4 American Southwest), which led for the final 29 minutes to win for the ninth time in its last 10 games.
“Revenge does go through your mind sometimes,” said Tucker, who shot 10-of-16 from the field. “We just wanted to focus on playing as a team, and then we knew everything would work out.”
The Lady Crusaders shot 62 percent in the first half, led by 14 at intermission and withstood the Lady Wildcats’ only major push early in the second half when Louisiana College (11-6, 9-5) used a 16-5 run to get within 60-55 with 16:04 remaining.
The Lady Wildcats, who made 18 3-pointers in the December meeting but only eight Thursday night, cooled off from there and it was all Lady Crusaders the rest of the way.
“We wanted to protect the paint,” UMHB coach Lisa Curliss-Taylor said. “We’ll risk all of those 3s they’re willing to shoot. We had to protect that paint.”
The Lady Crusaders overcame 27 turnovers by shooting 57 percent (36-of-63) and owning a 64-34 advantage in rebounds.
“Their whole philosophy is to see how many shots they can jack because a certain percentage of them will go in,” Curliss-Taylor said. “Our deal was to go rebound the ones that didn’t go in, and we did that.”
Alyssa Dean had 14 points, Jovana Miles 11 and 11 boards and Jonelle Smith 10 points for UMHB, which didn’t wilt against Louisiana College’s physical style.
“It was pretty physical out there, but we just kept fighting,” Tucker said. “You can expect that kind of game from Louisiana College, but I’m proud of my team for fighting through it.”
Baylie Butler scored 16 points for LC, which got 15 from Kaci Willis, 13 from Karli West and 11 each from Natosha Morvant and Keana Frank.
UMHB remained tied with Howard Payne for third place in the ASC standings heading into Saturday afternoon’s home game against Mississippi College.
“We’re still a week and half out from the conference tournament,” Curliss-Taylor said. “Yes, we’re in it. But we don’t want to barely get in it. We were the preseason No. 9 pick. We want to get up there as high as possible.”