Hardin-Simmons finished the regular season with a record of 13-12 and finished third in the American Southwest Conference West Division. The Cowgirls will open up ASC Tournament play against Texas-Dallas on Friday at 5 p.m. The Comets come into the game with a record of 17-8 on the year. After losing six straight games in the middle of conference play, UTD has won four straight games going into the tournament.
HSU is making its 15th straight trip to the ASC Tournament and has an all-time record of 18-8. HSU has won the ASC title six times, more than any other school. The last HSU title came in 2004. HSU is the only school that has qualified for the ASC Tournament all 15 times.
The Cowgirls are 4-6 against the other seven teams in the tournament this season. Against the four ASC East teams HSU went 1-3 and the Cowgirls were 3-3 against the other ASC West teams.
HSU comes into the tournament having lost four of its last five games. Prior to that, HSU had won six straight games. That was the longest winning streak for the Cowgirls since the 2008 season. The Cowgirls average 64.7 and allow 65.0. HSU is outrebounding its opponents by four rebounds per game.
Senior Alexis Popelar is having one of the best seasons by a Cowgirl in its storied history. Popelar has scored 461 points and with 23 more points she will move to fifth on the HSU single-season scoring charts. She also continues to climb the career scoring charts. She needs 21 points to pass Melissa Henley and 25 to pass Lauren Harris to move up to seventh all-time at HSU. Popelar has been named the ASC Player of the Week four times this season and has hit three game-winning shots. She leads the ASC in scoring. Her 8.4 rebounds per game are the most ever by an HSU perimeter player.
Howard Payne (21-4), will begin play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against East Division No. 4 seed East Texas Baptist (16-9). HPU, winners of 15 of its last 17 games, has hoisted five league trophies - including every time it has hosted the conference event (2007, 2009 and 2011). ETBU returns to the ASC tournament after a two-year absence.
Louisiana College (22-3), which leads the nation in scoring at 87.6 points per game, begins its quest for a second conference title Friday when it tips off in the first quarterfinal at noon against the West Division's No. 4 seed, Mary Hardin-Baylor (8-16). UMHB is back in the event after missing last year.
Defending conference champion Concordia Texas (17-8) enters as the West No. 2 seed and will open play at 2:30 p.m. Friday against the East's No. 3 seed, Texas-Tyler (17-8). UT Tyler is in the event for the first time since 2009.
The semifinals are scheduled to tip off Saturday at 2 p.m. (LC-UMHB winner vs. CTX-UT TYLER winner) and 4:30 p.m. (UTD-HSU winner vs. HPU-ETBU winner), with the championship game coming Sunday at 2 p.m.
The ASC tournament winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.
HSU will offer audio broadcasts on www.hsuathletics.com and Howard Payne will have video feeds on www.hpusports.com.