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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Lee's career high leads Bemidji State to rout of St. Cloud State

Bemidji State guard Morgan Lee (10) threads the needle between St. Cloud State defenders Carley Jeffery (11), Jessica Benson (32) and Karissa LeCaptain during the NSIC matchup Friday night. Lee scored a career-high 33 points in the Beavers’ 99-82 win over the Huskies. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
Bemidji State’s Cassie Baalke drives past St Cloud State’s Lexy Petermann during the first half of their NSIC game Friday night at the BSU Gymnasium. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 2

BEMIDJI — Bemidji State earned its first win in NSIC play by knocking off previously undefeated St. Cloud State 99-82 Friday at the BSU gym.

Senior Morgan Lee turned in a memorable game with 33 points and five assists, both career highs, in an effort to knock off the Huskies for the first time in her four-year career.

“St. Cloud is a well-respected team in our conference,” Lee said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge, but we were just ready to go tonight.”

Jessie Althoff hit a pair of jumpers to help BSU jump in front and grab an early 6-0 lead.

The Beavers maintained the lead for the majority of the first half, until losing it briefly at 28-27 with 4:30 to play in the stanza.

Bemidji State answered with a 7-0 run that was capped off by a layup and free throw by Lee to regain the lead at 34-28.

Tatum Sheley beat the buzzer with a layup to end an exciting first half with BSU leading SCSU 41-38.

The lead came despite not making a 3-pointer in the half, while surrendering six triples to the Huskies.

“At halftime they had made six and we had not made any,” Bemidji State head coach Mike Curfman said.

“We talked about how we had to do a better job of finding their shooters. I thought Kate did a great job of finding open shooters when she was double teamed.”

The Beavers made eight of their 12 attempts from long distance in the second half.

BSU took a hit early in the second half when Jessie Althoff picked up her fourth foul with over 18 minutes left in the game. Althoff scored all 17 of her points prior to the fourth foul.

“We made them come out of their regular defense and play zone for a while,” Lee said. “It is a bummer when Jessie had to come out, but we did well.”

Bemidji State’s first 3-pointer on the night came from Lee. It extended the lead to 51-42.

Lee finished 10 of 17 from the field with four 3-pointers.

“Things are just clicking,” Lee said. “Everyone on our team is a threat. Opponents cannot just pay attention to one or two players.”

With Althoff on the bench, the Beavers turned to an offense that featured four guards against a physical Huskies team. Three-pointers from Allison Cordes, Hanna Zerr, Lee and Sheley helped push the lead to 20 points at 79-59 with 8:30 remaining.

“It is an option that we can go to if we need to,” Curfman said of the four-guard offense. “I was very pleased with how our girls responded after she picked up her fourth foul. I was also very pleased that she never committed a fifth foul.”

“We had great ball movement in the second half,” Cordes said. “We got the ball inside a lot and Kate did a great job kicking it back out to us.”

St. Cloud kept applying pressure but was unable to cut the deficit to single digits.

After committing 12 turnovers in the first half, the Beavers gave the ball away just four times in the second half.

“We talk about being strong with the ball all the time,” Cordes said. “Cutting down on our turnovers takes away a lot of scoring opportunities for our opponent.”

“For being fairly young at the guard position, we did a good job taking care of the ball in the second half,” Curfman added.

Kate Warmack turned in her fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Bemidji State (5-1, 1-1 NSIC) will look to complete the weekend sweep when it hosts Minnesota Duluth today at 4 p.m.

“We are going to soak in this win tonight, but we are going to turn the page for tomorrow,” Lee said. “We have been preparing for them all week, so I think we will be ready.”

Bemidji State 99, St. Cloud State 82

St. Cloud State (82): Konopasek 7-16 3-5 17, Nooker 3-5 5-5 12, Jeffery 2-10 6-6 10, Le Captain 2-5 4-4 8, Price 2-10 2-2 8, Moen 2-7 2-2 8, MacDonald 3-6 0-0 8, Petermann 2-4 1-1 6, Benson 2-10 1-2 5. Totals 25-73 19-24 82.

Bemidji State (99): Lee 10-17 9-11 33, Althoff 8-15 1-1 17, Warmack 6-12 5-5 17, Zerr 3-8 4-6 11, Sheley 3-5 0-1 8, Cordes 3-4 0-0 7, Reichert 2-3 0-0 4, Miller 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 36-66 19-24 99.

Halftime: Bemidji State 41, St. Cloud State 38