CEDAR FALLS, Iowa –Morgan Lee was on fire Tuesday night.
The junior from Hayward, Wis., went 8-for-15 from 3-point land and scored a career-high 32 points to help lead the Bemidji State women’s basketball team to a 85-67 victory at Mount Mercy.
The win hands the Beavers a 4-0 start to the 2012-13 season, marking the first 4-0 start since the 1974-75 squad opened its season 13-0. Only three teams in program history have started 4-0 or better, prior to this season.
Lee’s career-highs in 3-pointers made (8) and 3-pointers attempted (15) each fell one short of the program record. Her 32 points ties for seventh on Bemidji State’s top game scoring list with Heidi Matzke, who scored 32 points at Minnesota Crookston in 2008.
It was also the first 30-point game for a BSU player since Taylor Davis posted 31 points at St. Cloud State in 2010.
In addition to Lee’s career night, junior Jessie Althoff added 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals on 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
Junior guard Lanae Rash scored 12 points and tallied a team-high seven rebounds with three steals.
As a team, the Beavers got off to slow start and trailed 30-26 at halftime after shooting 35.5 percent from the field and making just two 3-pointers. Lee had eight points at the break.
A Lee 3-pointer about four minutes into the game handed BSU a 10-4 lead, but the Mustangs battled back to take their first lead of the contest at 20-19 with 6:14 remaining in the first half. After trading buckets, MMU went on to own a lead as large six before settling with the 30-26 halftime advantage.
In the second half, BSU rebounded, going 65.6 percent from the field and went 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from 3-point land to outscore the Mustangs 59-37. BSU dished out 25 assists and forced 21 turnovers.
The home team maintained the lead and eventually opened up a 10-point advantage at 43-33 six minutes into the second frame.
A Mustang jumper with 11:44 remaining gave them a 47-37 lead, but it would be all Bemidji State the rest of the way.
A pair of free throws from junior Katie Warmack started a 19-7 run by the Beavers that wiped 4:20 off the game clock and handed BSU a 56-54 lead.
The shot that gave the Beavers the lead back was, unsurprisingly, a Lee 3-pointer with an assist from Shannon Thompson. During the stretch, four different players scored and Lee knocked down three of her eight 3-pointers.
The two-point Beaver lead went to seven on a jumper from Lee with 5:28 left, but the Mustangs battled back within three at 64-61 with 4:20 showing on the game clock. Lee hit on her seventh 3-pointer to give the team a 67-61 lead that quickly went to 15 at 76-61, which was capped by two Thompson free throws, and put the game out of reach for Mount Mercy. BSU owned a 21 point lead before settling with the 85-67 victory.
Also for BSU, Freshman Emily Reichert made her first-collegiate start and posted seven assists, while Thompson came off the bench to add 12 assists.
Amanda Frost led Mount Mercy (2-6) with a team-high 23 points and six rebounds.
Bemidji State begins its Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schedule Dec. 1 at home against Minnesota Crookston.