It was a night that University of Maine senior guard Parise Rossignol will never forget.
The Van Buren native set a school record with eight 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 32 points to lead the Black Bears to a 79-45 America East women’s victory over the University of Massachusetts Lowell on Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center.
It was the third straight win and the seventh in the last eight games for UMaine, which improved to 14-7 overall, 7-1 in America East. UMass Lowell, which had only eight players due to injuries and illness, fell to 6-15 and 2-6.
The River Hawks suffered their fourth consecutive loss.
The victory, coupled with a Hartford loss to Binghamton, pulled the Black Bears into a first-place tie with Hartford.
Rossignol went 12-for-19 from the floor including an 8-for-11 showing beyond the 3-point line. She hit 8 of her last 9 3-pointers.
“It was a lot of fun, for sure,” said Rossignol. “Before the game, Coach (Amy Vachon) put on the board that we have three guaranteed regular season home games left.
“It kind of hit home with me. I love playing here. It has been special, for sure, and I want to take advantage of every opportunity I have left to play here. That was my mindset going in,” she added.
Rossignol, who entered the game with an 11.2 points-per game average, has now averaged 18.5 ppg in eight games at the Cross Insurance Center this season.
“Maine shot the ball real well. They have really good perimeter players and we weren’t alert enough to find them. When give one of them 11 (3-point) shots and she’s a good shooter, you expect her to make a good amount of them,” said UML first-year head coach Tom Garrick. “Credit to her. Even when she gets the shots, she still has to make them.”
Rossignol broke the previous record of seven 3-pointers shared by Lauren Bodine, Tanna Ross and Julie Brosseau.
“It’s cool,” said Rossignol. “LB (Bodine) always told me she wanted me to break it. I’m excited to talk to her.”
Rossignol admitted she was a little worried after missing her first two 3-pointers but said once she made a few “my mindset was every time I shoot, I think it’s going in.”
“That was one heckuva’ night,” said UMaine senior guard Tanesha Sutton.
Blanca Millan contributed 11 points and three assists along with two steals before fouling out with 7:29 left.
Sutton had six points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. Kelly Fogarty posted nine points, Fanny Wadling turned in seven rebounds and three assists and Dor Saar chipped in with six points and seven assists.
Maeve Carroll produced eight rebounds and three assists along with three points in 18 minutes off the bench.
Oda Shackleford’s 13 points and Linda Svenne’s 11 points and seven rebounds paced UMass Lowell. Ren’Cia Rolling had nine points, three assists and two steals and Bri Rudolph had seven points and six rebounds before exiting in the fourth quarter due to concussion protocol.
UML also lost second-leading scorer Katherine Smith with a hand injury in the first half.
Rossignol capped a memorable, 21-point first half with a 35-foot desperation 3-pointer as time elapsed to give the Black Bears a 41-23 lead.
After spotting the River Hawks a game-opening basket by Bri Rudolph, the Black Bears rattled off the next 14 points to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Rossignol accounted for 10 of the points.
Millan fed Wadling for a foul-line jumper to start the run and Rossignol nailed a 12-foot jumper from the left side before hitting a long 3 off a Millan feed.
After a timeout with five minutes left in the quarter, Rossignol converted a left-handed layup and a 3 off a Saar pass before Saar passed to Sutton for a basket to cap the run.
UML closed to within seven in the second period but UMaine outscored the River Hawks 17-6 over the final five minutes of the half to build its 18-point halftime lead.
Millan complemented Rossignol’s 21 first-half points with seven and she also had three assists. Sutton had six points, six points, three assists and three steals and Saar had five assists.
Svenne had eight first-half points for UML. Shackleford had six off the bench and Rolling had five points.
UMaine outrebounded UML 26-12 in the first half.
“They crushed us on the boards in the first half,” said Garrick.
UMaine finished with a 45-28 rebounding edge and had 20 offensive rebounds leading to 22 second-chance points.
“We emphasized crashing the boards to try to make more opportunities for ourselves,” said Sutton. “We also tried to be very aggressive on defense. Getting stops on defense helps create our offense.”
Maine went 14-for-32 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“It was a real good team win,” said Vachon. “We talked a lot about how we can get better defensively and we did a real nice job in the second half. Obviously, Parise had an outstanding game. It was fun to watch.
“We had 23 assists on 31 baskets. That’s pretty good. One of the great things about this team it it shares the ball so well,” she added.