Shaker started chipping away at Niskayuna's lead in the third quarter and got it down to nine points before the Silver Warriors went on a mini run to build their advantage back to 15 points early in the fourth quarter. But the Blue Bison remained aggressive at both ends of the court and again got within nine points of Niskayuna with less than four minutes left in the final period.
Shaker's young shooters showed poise during the final three minutes. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Erica Houle cut Niskayuna's lead to 55-51. Freshman guard Adrienne Devine then picked up an offensive rebound and drove the lane for a layup to get the Blue Bison within two points. Junior guard Eden Alexanian capped Shaker's 9-0 rally by stealing the ball off an inbounds pass and driving for a layup with 35 seconds left to tie the game at 55.
"We did a good job (in the second half)," said Mazzeo. "We were in a little bit of foul trouble in the first half, but they bought in to what we talked about at halftime, and they came out and played well."
Shaker had a couple of chances to win the game in regulation. Alexanian was fouled on her game-tying layup, but she missed the free throw. Then, following a Niskayuna turnover, senior guard Morgan Rowland launched a three quarters-court three-pointer at the buzzer that rimmed out.
Niskayuna got the lead back early in the four-minute overtime period, but didn't regain control of the game until the last 1:30. Halayko made two free throws, and Lisa Rufer scored a fast break layup to put the Silver Warriors up 64-59.
"What we're working on is playing with a big lead," said Neely. "We have to learn how to hold those leads and play under control."