BANGOR, Maine — Julie Brosseau had a memorable summer, and a forgettable start, to this season for the University of Maine.
After being the leading scorer for Team Quebec and helping the province earn its first ever medal (silver medal) in the Jeux de la Francophonie tournament for French-speaking countries in the Ivory Coast, the sophomore guard returned to Orono and averaged only 5.5 points per game through the first four contests.
Her shooting percentages were a dismal 21.1 percent from the floor (8-for-38) and 12.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (3-for-24).
Thanks to assistant coach Jhasmin Player, Brosseau regained her shooting touch. She has been lighting it up over the last five games heading into Saturday’s contest at Dartmouth.
During that span, Brosseau has averaged 20.6 points and has shot 47.9 percent from the floor (35-for-73) and a blistering 48.8 percent (21-for-43) from the 3-point line.
“(Player) really helped me with my shooting,” said Brosseau. “She said my elbow was a little bit more on the exterior, so I tried to bring it in.”
“I caught her in the gym working on a bad shot. She came wearing an arm sleeve one day, she was trying anything (to improve her shooting),” chuckled Player, who is UMaine’s recruiting coordinator. “I watched a little film on her, saw that her elbow was out and the rotation wasn’t right.
“We got her in the gym a little bit, got her elbow in, got it off the front of her face and she has been shooting it really well ever since,” said Player.
Player said she reminded Brosseau of what her shot should look like and that she was willing to make the needed adjustments.
“They really put the focus on my shooting in practice and it really helped me. I feel more confident now that I’m shooting better,” said Brosseau, who is averaging 13.9 points, second only to Blanca Millan’s 18.1, and leads the team with 24 3-pointers.
Brosseau tied a school record with seven threes in the 83-70 loss to No. 8 Ohio State. She scored a career-high 29 points in that game.
“It was a big arena, there were a lot of people and there was a lot of energy. I really wanted to give my best,” said Brosseau.
The game drew a crowd of 5,879 to the 18,809-seat Value City Arena.
The 5-foot-8 Brosseau had a solid freshman season. She averaged 6.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 19.6 minutes per game.
The Repentigny, Quebec, native made noticeable improvements to her game over the summer thanks to her weight training regimen and practice time at her former CEGEP school, College Montmorency, and trips to Argentina and the Ivory Coast with Team Quebec.
“I took my summer seriously,” said Brosseau, who is also contributing 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 26.8 minutes per game. “I had a whole year of experience my freshman year so I knew what I had to do (to get better). I lost some weight. I got quicker and had better feet for my defense.”
“She has always been a great player,” said UMaine interim head coach Amy Vachon. “She was ranked the fourth best player in Canada coming out so she’s always had (ability).
“It doesn’t surprise me what she has been doing by any means. She has figured out, defensively, what she can do and what she can’t do,” added Vachon, pointing out the difficulty of making the transition to college as a freshman.
Brosseau played 13.5 points per game during the Jeux de la Francophonie and scored 18 points in the 73-53 loss to France in the final. She scored in double figures in five of the six games.
“It was a really great experience. France was very tall and very athletic,” said Brosseau, who was Team Quebec’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies.
Her teammates appreciate her skills.
“She is a great (outside) shooter and she can also hit the pull-up jumper,” said sophomore guard Millan.
“She was missing at the beginning of the season but now she’s into it. She’s working really hard every day on her shooting and she’s going to be one of the biggest (weapons) we have.”
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