The eighth-seeded Eagles, a team filled mostly with sophomores and juniors, came out jittery against the highly regarded Monarchs (20-5). They missed their first nine shots, most of which were within two feet of the basket. Despite its shooting woes, Shanahan (12-13) trailed just 10-7 after one period.
Gwynedd-Mercy, behind 5 second-period points from Roslyn Frost, stretched its lead to 23-13 by halftime.
Shanahan had turnover troubles of its own during the half, as Gwynedd's press forced 13 miscues. The Monarchs' defense also kept Shanahan's high- scoring Kristin Wallin in check. She was scoreless in the first half and finished with just 3 points.
"We had a hard time bringing the ball up against them," said Wallin, one of only two Shanahan seniors. "None of our easy shots were going in. Nothing was going in, really.
"I think we were a little nervous coming in here. Anytime you get to a game on this level, you're going to be a little nervous. But we did come in with a positive attitude and were psyched."
The Eagles tried to put together a few rallies during the second half, but Gwynedd would not buckle. The Monarchs led 35-18 after three periods, then scored 6 straight points early in the fourth period to take their biggest lead - 41-20. Wallin hit a three-point field goal to break both the Monarchs' streak and her own scoreless string, but it was far too late.
Jen Chaney led Shanahan with 13 points. Scrappy reserve Colleen Krause added 7. Kristen Hines paced the Monarchs with 14.
Shanahan was off to a quick start Wednesday in the opening round of AAA play. And No. 9-seed Pottsgrove was left at the gate in a 74-54 loss.
In a fast-paced, run-and-gun game, the Eagles raced to a 22-9 lead after the first quarter, using a full-court press to force 15 Pottsgrove turnovers in the period.
Shanahan led, 34-17, at the half, but the Falcons (11-12) went on a run early in the third period to pull to within 41-32. The Eagles responded, however, with a 10-4 run to take a 51-36 lead and coasted home.
Chaney led Shanahan with 20 points, Krause added 12 and Wallin, Janet DiOrio and Angela Panetta each had 9.