BOZEMAN — Claire Lundberg describes herself as a gym rat, and her work ethic is paying off for Montana State.
Lundberg, a senior transfer from Seton Hall, put together her second consecutive impressive outing, scoring 25 points Tuesday to lead the Bobcats to a 64-48 victory over in-state NAIA foe Carroll College in front of a large and fervent crowd at Worthington Arena.
The game was MSU’s true season opener as week after it defeated Montana Western in a home exhibition game, and was played before a sellout crowd of 6,772 as part of the second annual Bobcat School Day, which gathers students, teachers, parents and volunteers from K-8 schools within a 200-mile radius.
They all watched the 6-foot-1 Lundberg dazzle by making 11 of 14 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers in 36 minutes on the floor.
Lundberg has wasted no time showing the skill she can provide Montana State: In her first two games in a Bobcat uniform, Lundberg shot a staggering .792 percent (19 of 24) while making 5 of 6 3-point attempts.
“That’s (from) being in the gym a lot,” Lundberg said. “Just getting shots up when I can is the biggest part of that.”
Carroll coach Rachelle Sayers, whose team had already played exhibitions again Division I teams Montana and Gonzaga, gave Lundberg high marks afterward.
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“She’s really good,” Sayers said. “I thought she was the difference. Whenever they needed a big shot or a big 3 she was the one that got it. I didn’t think we played her bad, I thought we defended her as well as we could, she just made big shots.
“She’s really versatile, she can shoot it, she can score at the rim, she can score with her back to the basket ... she is going to be a tremendous player in the Big Sky. That was a great get for them.”
Guard Oliana Squires added 11 points and four assists for the Bobcats, while post Madeline Smith had 10 points. Martha Kuderer, also a transfer from Seton Hall, and guard Tori Martell each had seven rebounds.
Hannah Dean had 13 points and six rebounds for the Saints. Brittney Johnson chipped in 11 points and six rebounds.
The Bobcats (1-0) next face Marquette in the preseason WNIT on Friday in Milwaukee.
The game was an exhibition for Carroll (1-0), which hosts The Master’s University in a regular season matchup on Friday in Helena.