The University of Maine women’s basketball team held rival New Hampshire scoreless for an 11 1/2-minute stretch midway through the contest and rolled to a 69-45 victory over the Wildcats in America East play Saturday at Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham, New Hampshire.
Coach Amy Vachon’s Black Bears (15-7 overall, 8-1 in the conference) scored 21 unanswered points during that midgame defensive stand en route to their fourth consecutive victory.
Tanesha Sutton paced a balanced UMaine offense with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Parise Rossignol scored 13 points and Dor Saar contributed 11 points and six assists.
Blanca Millan added nine points, five steals and four rebounds for the Black Bears and center Fanny Wadling had nine rebounds and three assists.
UMaine shot 50 percent (27 of 54) from the field for the game compared to just 32 percent (16 of 50) for UNH.
The Black Bears also shot 52.9 percent (9 of 17) from 3-point range, with Rossignol making 3 of 5 attempts after setting a school record with eight 3-pointers during UMaine’s win over Mass Lowell on Wednesday. UNH made 6 of 18 tries (33 percent) from beyond the arc.
UMaine also recorded assists on 20 of its 27 field goals, with seven different Black Bears having at least one assist.
UMaine began the day tied with Hartford for first place in the America East standings, although Hartford holds the tiebreaker by virtue of its victory over the Black Bears on Jan. 16.
UNH (4-18, 1-8 AE) continued to struggle without its top scorer and second-leading rebounder, redshirt junior center Ashley Storey of Cumberland. The 2015 Miss Maine Basketball missed her seventh straight game with a foot injury, as the Wildcats endured their sixth straight loss and 11th defeat in their last 12 games.
UMaine scored the final eight points of the second quarter to pull away to a 37-13 halftime lead en route to its sixth straight win over its cross-border rival.
The Black Bears dominated play at both ends of the court during the first 20 minutes of play.
Rossignol scored all 13 of her points and Sutton added 12 points and six rebounds for UMaine, which shot 54 percent from the field and assisted on 10 of its 14 first-half baskets.
The Black Bears’ defense limited UNH to a 22 percent (5 of 23) shooting effort from the field and induced 12 Wildcat turnovers that led to 17 UMaine points.
UMaine collected 10 steals during the half, including four by Millan and three by Sutton.
Rossignol immediately picked up where she had left off against UMass Lowell on Wednesday when she made eight of her last nine 3-point attempts.
It took her just a minute to connect from long range again New Hampshire as Rossignol scored UMaine’s first five points to erase a 3-0
Sutton followed with an inside basket and a 12-foot, banked-in jumper to give the Black Bears a 9-3 cushion, and Rossignol added two more 3-pointers to help propel UMaine to a 20-7 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.
UMaine outscored UNH 17-6 during the second quarter, with Saar scoring eight points on a three-point play off an assist from Maddy McVicar, a 3-point shot and a fast-break layup off the steal of an inbounding pass by Millan that closed out the first-half scoring.
UMaine held UNH scoreless over the final 4:38 of the second period.
Saar helped extend the Black Bears’ half-ending run to 15-0 over the first four minutes of the third quarter.
The sophomore point guard opened the second half with a 3-pointer and then fed Sutton and Millan for layups to push UMaine’s lead to 44-13 and prompt a New Hampshire timeout with 6:11 left in the period.
That advantage ultimately grew to 50-13 before Caroline Soucy ended UNH’s scoring drought with 3:08 left in the quarter.
Kari Brekke finished with a game-high 18 points for UNH while Soucy scored 10.