Parise Rossignol played her first basketball game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor six years ago when it first opened.
As a senior at Van Buren High School, she set Class D North tournament records for points (89) and field goals (34), and established the single-game scoring mark (43). Rossignol earned the BDN’s Owen O. Osborne Most Valuable Player Award.
When the University of Maine’s graduate student guard takes the court at 5 p.m. Friday for the America East championship game against Hartford, it may be her last game there.
“I hope it is,” said Rossignol, who knows if that’s the case, it means UMaine has defended its America East title and earned a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
If UMaine loses, there is a possibility it could host a WNIT game.
Playing at the Cross Insurance Center has agreed with Rossignol and the Black Bears.
The team is 11-1 this season at the Cross Insurance Center with the only loss coming against Duke (66-63) on Nov. 15. They have won their past 10 games in Bangor.
UMaine boasts a 44-5 overall record (.898) in Bangor since the start of the 2015-16 season, including a 33-2 mark against America East opponents.
“I love playing there,” Rossignol said. “It’s an awesome facility; the crowds we get. It’s special. It’s an awesome experience.”
This season, in her first year as a starter, Rossignol has averaged 15.7 points per game at the Cross Insurance Center, 4.7 points above her overall average.
The All-America East second-team selection has shot 59.7 percent from the floor (71-for-119) and 54.3 percent from the 3-point arc (38-for-70) in Bangor. On Jan. 30, Rossignol set a school single-game record with eight 3-pointers.
“I feel comfortable there. The rims are nice to us, and hopefully they’ll be nice to us on Friday,” Rossignol said.
The game against coach Kim McNeill’s Hawks is a rematch of last year’s championship game won by the Black Bears 74-65. Rossignol posted 12 points and two assists.
“It’s exciting. That has been our goal all year,” Rossignol said. “It’s one of those games you prepare your whole life for.”
Rossignol and fellow guards Dor Saar and Blanca Millan will be tested by the Hawks, who will pressure them all over the court. Hartford forces the second-most turnovers among 349 Division I schools (24.94 per game), while UMaine ranks second in turnovers (11.1 per game).
“We are going to have to play real good defense, execute on offense and not turn the ball over,” Saar said.