"I thought we were slower hitting our shots, and that's what got us in a bit of a hole," said Caschera.
Shen expanded its advantage to 14 points in the third quarter thanks to Marissa Ray. The senior guard drained a pair of three-pointers and added a long jump shot during an 8-0 run.
"Usually, I have a tremendous first half, and then I'd slow down," said Ray. "I had to tell myself that there's four quarters to a game."
Shaker refused to go away, though. Houle " the lone senior in the Blue Bison's starting five " made two long three-pointers in the fourth quarter to key a 15-4 run that cut Shen's lead to 45-42.
That was as close as Shen would allow Shaker to get. The Plainsmen made a defensive stand in the final 30 seconds to end the Blue Bison's rally.
"We got caught a couple of times, but for the most part, we had a hand up [defensively] and they had to force their threes," said Strube.
Setter finished with 15 points and was named the tournament's most valuable player, but it was Ray's presence that helped Shen the most. Besides her 11 points, Ray also handled the ball, directed the offense and played tough defense.
"I don't think it takes an Einstein to see that she makes a huge difference for us," Strube said of Ray, who missed a chunk of the regular season with an injury. "If Marissa wasn't here, I think you'd be talking to Emily Caschera right now."
Setter was equally active on both sides of the floor. Besides her 15 points, she also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and added four steals.
"Allie Setter played both ends of the floor for all four quarters," said Strube. "She pulled down rebound after rebound, and she hit some tough shots down low."