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Former Van Buren basketball star relishing second chance at UMaine

Rogelio V. Solis | AP
Rogelio V. Solis | AP
Mississippi State guard Victoria Vivians (35) battles Maine guard Parise Rossignol (12) in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — Her shot isn’t falling like she would like it to but Parise Rossignol is having the time of her life.

The former Van Buren High School phenom and four-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Team selection, who scored 2,589 points during her remarkable high school career, has been averaging over 21 minutes of playing time per game for the University of Maine women’s basketball team in her first season back. She left the program a year ago after averaging just four minutes of playing time on two veteran-laden UMaine teams her freshman and sophomore seasons.

But she said she found out how much she loved the game and the camaraderie that goes with it during her one-year hiatus. And during the process of obtaining her release from interim head coach Amy Vachon, Vachon asked her if she would like to return.

The 5-foot-8 guard jumped at the chance.

“I am having a blast. I have never had so much fun playing…honestly,” said Rossignol on Tuesday as she and her mates prepared for their America East opener against Stony Brook on Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

“I kind of took the pressure off myself. I want to have fun and work hard with my team. We have a great thing going. We’re really excited for conference play,” she added.

Rossignol has played in all 13 games for the 7-6 Black Bears, starting 11 of them, and is averaging 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. She has turned the ball over just six times in 276 minutes of playing time.

“That’s really taking care of the ball right there,” said UMaine junior guard Tanesha Sutton who added that Rossignol is “a great defender, especially on the back side of the zone.”

Rossignol is shooting an uncharacteristic 31.3 percent from the floor and 23.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

“Sometimes, I’ve got to get it out of my head. I’ve got to shoot the ball with confidence. That’s when good things are going to happen,” she said.

“Her stats don’t jump off the page but she is a dependable defender and rebounder and I think her shot will fall,” said Vachon. “She’s a great shooter, she just hasn’t found her shot yet. This is the most she has played in a long time. Sometimes it takes time.

“She’s a smart player who does a lot of little things. She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” added Vachon. “She is a great kid and a great teammate who wants what is best for the team and will do whatever she can to make that happen.”

“She is one of the most well-respected players on the team,” said UMaine assistant coach Jhasmin Player. “There isn’t anyone in this program who doesn’t think very highly of Parise. She’s really easy-going and is always in high spirits and we’ve needed that.”

Like Vachon, Player thinks it is just a matter of time before Rossignol starts scoring consistently.

“She has one of the best dribble-jump shots I’ve seen in Division I basketball,” said Player who feels one of Rossignol’s issues is that she simply doesn’t shoot enough.

Rossignol is averaging just over five shots taken per game.

“At first, I was trying to figure out my role on the team,” explained Rossignol. “I wasn’t sure what was a good shot …was it too early on the shot clock? But I’ve kind of figured that out. I’ve found a spot in our offense when to take my shots.”

“Amy said to her she would tell her if she was taking too many shots or if she took a bad shot and she hasn’t had to say anything to her yet,” said Player.

Rossignol, t he daughter of former UMaine basketball star Matt Rossignol and wife Monique, said she feels fortunate to have received a second chance to play at UMaine.

“If you leave a Division I program, the chances are that you aren’t going to be able to go back to it. I realized I had an amazing opportunity in front of me and I worked harder than ever in the offseason,” she said. “I really wanted to focus on things I can control. You can’t always control if the ball is going to go into the basket. But you can control how hard you work on defense and how you protect the ball. If you don’t turn the ball over, you can earn a lot of playing time.

“I think a lot of people expected me to be a shooter. But I wanted to bring more to my game this year so I focused on doing all the little things. Maybe people won’t notice as much but it helps our team just as much,” Rossignol added.

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