Rowland started the third quarter on the bench, and Shen took advantage by going on an 8-4 run to build a 31-27 lead. Rowland returned briefly before being whistled for her fourth personal foul, which sent her to the bench again.
Shaker’s supporting cast stepped up after Rowland picked up her fourth foul, though. The Blue Bison chipped away and took a 34-31 lead on Adriene Gambles’ last-second three-pointer. Merrick Rowland then drained a pair of key threes in the fourth quarter to help Shaker pull away for the eight-point win.
Lyric Artis netted a team-high 14 points, and Merrick Rowland added 12 points off the bench for the Blue Bison.
“I knew this game would happen at some point where our leading scorer (Madison Rowland) wasn’t hitting shots or got into foul trouble,” said Shaker coach Emily Caschera-Blowers. “The good news is the other kids stepped up.”
Freshman forward Carly Boland turned in another solid game for Shen. Boland – who is averaging 14.3 points per game – scored eight of her 14 points in the second half to keep the Lady Plainsmen within striking distance. Senior forward Alyssia Marsal contributed eight points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Murphy said he’s hoping losses to quality Suburban Council teams such as Shaker, Colonie and Bethlehem will serve Shen well when the Section II Class AA playoffs begin in late February.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to be a better tam at the end of the year,” said Murphy. “We’re learning how to be a better team by playing these teams.”