BANGOR — In recent years, a visit from the University of New Hampshire might be cause for concern for the University of Maine women’s basketball team.

Add the fact that the Black Bears were stumbling with a four-game losing streak, and Wednesday night could have been trouble at the Cross Insurance Center.

But these Wildcats are a shadow of the contender of past seasons, and Maine cruised to a 67-46 victory in the America East Conference opener for both teams before a crowd of about 600.

Parise Rossignol scored 18, Tanesha Sutton recorded a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Blanca Millan added 13 points to lead Maine (8-6).

Ashley Story, the 6-foot-3 junior center from Cumberland (and Greely High School), led all scorers with 20 for UNH (3-11).

Maine jumped ahead 8-0 and never trailed. Up 34-20 at halftime, the Black Bears scored the first nine points of the third quarter to pull away. Maine shot 49 percent and grabbed 37 rebounds; to the Wildcats’ 37 percent, and 18 rebounds.

“They’re just a really tough team, so balanced and so deep,” UNH coach Maureen Magarity said. “They have so many good shooters. If you leave them alone for a second, they’re going to knock them down.”

Rossignol, who missed Maine’s last game with a sore back, played only 24 minutes, but hit 8 of 9 shots (2 of 3 on 3-pointers).

While Rossignol and Sutton starred, the Black Bears were bolstered by the return of 6-1 center Fanny Wadling, who missed the past 10 games with a concussion. Wadling had four points and three rebounds, but aided the defense and allowed Sutton room to operate on offense.

“With Fanny’s presence on the court, you have to defend her,” Sutton said. “That puts pressure on the defense and gives us relief, especially me.”

Sutton also had six assists, while playing her usual stalwart defense.

“(Sutton) is so strong. She’s a special player,” Magarity said. “I always enjoy watching her play, when it’s not against my team.”

Magarity is watching her rebuilding team struggle, especially after losing two regular post players to knee injuries — putting even more pressure on Storey, who played 39 minutes on Wednesday.

“I can’t say enough about Ashley,” Magarity said. “She’s trying to put the team on her shoulders, and she’s doing that. It’s just tough. We’re looking for more scoring.”

Maine got plenty of scoring, even with Millan sick with a stomach bug. She did not eat all day and skipped the pregame warm-ups. Just before the game, Millan came out, stretched and jogged around. She hit 5 of 8 shots, grabbed five rebounds and made two steals in 21 minutes.

Maine coach Amy Vachon used 11 players, 10 recording at least nine minutes.

“Will we always play 11 kids? No, but I want to see who can play,” Vachon said.

 


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