BANGOR — Now the Black Bears wait.

The University of Maine women’s basketball team won’t find out its opponent – and where it will play – in the opening round of the NCAA Division I tournament until Monday night’s selection show, which begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The tournament begins Friday.

The last time Maine reached the NCAAs was in 2004. The Black Bears were seeded 13th in their region and lost to No. 4 Texas Tech, 60-50.

According to ESPN’s “Bracketology,” which tries to predict the pairings for the 64-team field, the Black Bears could be a 14th seed. ESPN projects Maine to play at Tennessee.

Another possible destination is Tallahassee, Florida, to play Florida State.

Maine has appeared in seven NCAA tournaments. The Black Bears’ only win came in 1999, when No. 10 Maine upset No. 7 Stanford, 60-58. Current coach Amy Vachon was a junior point guard on that team.


BEFORE BLANCA MILLAN came alive to help Maine pull away from Hartford, a pair of guards kept the Black Bears in good position.

Julie Brosseau and Parise Rossignol alternated hot quarters for Maine, with Brosseau catching fire for 11 points in the first quarter and Rossignol finding a rhythm for nine points in the second.

Brosseau didn’t need much time to find a rhythm. She knocked down the first shot of the game, a straight-on 3-pointer, then followed it up with two free throws, a second 3-pointer, and then a third, putting Maine ahead 13-6 after only 4:29.

“Julie came out on fire,” Vachon said. “That was so big for us.”

Rossignol scored nine straight points in the second quarter, but paid a physical toll in the process. She was knocked down while sinking a jumper and made the free throw for a three-point play, then got bowled over on a 3-point try and hit all three free throws to tie the game at 29. She added a 3-pointer moments later to put Maine up 32-31.

“Coming off the bench, I always want to be a spark for my team,” Rossignol said. “I’m happy I was able to do that.”


ROSSIGNOL JOKED that she played for a title last year. She sat out last season for personal reasons, but said, “this time last year, I was winning an intramural championship.

Rossignol, a junior from Van Buren, was honored by America East after the game for having the best GPA (3.72) among the players.

THE CROWD OF 3,373 made its presence felt.

“For a team that’s never been here and never had that experience, it may have played a little bit of a part (in falling behind),” Hartford Coach Kim McNeill said of her players. “I kept telling the kids ‘Feed off the energy, regardless of who they’re cheering for. Feed off the energy.'”

Hartford withstood the first Maine run at the start of the game but began to fade in the third quarter. Each mistake just boosted the volume of the crowd, and by the time Hartford called a timeout after a Millan 3-pointer made it 65-49, the noise was deafening.

Maine played the previous two titles games at Albany.


“They know, they’ve been on the road,” Vachon said of her players. “It is hard going on the road to play a championship game.”

THE ALL-TOURNAMENT team was led by Millan, who was named tournament MVP after scoring 59 points in three games. Rossignol was the only other Maine player on the team. She scored 40 points in Maine’s three wins.

Two Hartford players were honored – senior forwards Darby Lee (40 points) and Janelle Harrison (38 points) – as was New Hampshire forward Carlie Pogue, who recorded 24 points and 25 rebounds in two games).

HARTFORD WAS trying to make its fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament. The previous four came under Coach Jennifer Rizzotti, the last in 2011. The Hawks are the only American East team with two wins in the NCAAs, beating Temple in 2006 and Syracuse in 2008.

Rizzotti is in her second year as coach at George Washington. Her fifth-seeded Colonials just won the Atlantic-10 tournament to reach the NCAAs.

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