BANGOR — After making another steal, University of Maine senior Parise Rossignol drove down the Cross Insurance Center court. She missed her fast-break layup. Rossignol stayed on task, grabbed the rebound and scored the putback. The home-crowd cheered.

There would be more cheers Wednesday night, but they were not your dramatic, edge-of-the-seat hysterics.

They were just applause for good plays, which Maine had a lot of in a 69-36 rout of New Hampshire in an America East quarterfinal before a crowd of 1,764.

The score could have been worse, but the Black Bears shot only 34 percent, missing several inside shots.

“We need to make layups,” Maine Coach Amy Vachon said. “We left about 25 points on the floor.

“We didn’t shoot the ball great, but I love the fact that we had 19 offensive rebounds.”

Tanesha Sutton paced Maine with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Blanca Millan scored 19 points, and point guard Dor Saar added 10. Center Fanny Wadling had nine points and 13 rebounds.

The top-seeded Black Bears (23-7) advance to the semifinals at 1 p.m. Sunday against fourth-seeded Albany at Memorial Gymnasium on the Orono campus. Albany beat Binghamton, 61-56.

“It’s been a tough year,” said UNH Coach Maureen Magarity, whose team finished 6-24.

This was hardly the Maine-UNH competition of previous conference tournaments.

In 2016, second-seeded Maine got a scare from No. 7 UNH, which was within three points midway through the fourth quarter before the Black Bears pulled away.

In 2017, UNH was the powerful No. 1 seed, and Maine upset the Wildcats. Last year, UNH sought revenge but again lost to Maine in the semifinals.

This year, the Wildcats went into rebuilding mode, starting the season 1-7 and never recovering.

“I’m proud of the team for making the playoffs, to be honest,” Magarity said. “Obviously, we had a really tough matchup.”

Wednesday’s game was never in doubt. Rossignol’s steal was one of six thefts for the Black Bears in the first quarter, and they led 22-9. The Black Bears forced 21 turnovers and lost the ball only four times.

“Defense is the key,” Saar said. “The shots are going to fall … although they didn’t, really.”

Saar’s comment drew a laugh from her teammates. They could relax. They were too much for the Wildcats, especially with Sutton, the 5-foot-10 senior battling inside and out. She also had three steals and a block.

“She always is a difference-maker against us,” Magarity said. “Her toughness, her rebounding … she is so versatile. She never stops working. I just saw her in the hallway. I’m happy I don’t ever have to go against her again.”

UNH freshman guard Kari Brekke, the America East Rookie of the Year, led the Wildcats with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

NOTES: The Black Bears are playing Sunday in Memorial Gymnasium (a.k.a. The Pit) because the Cross Insurance Center is hosting a professional bull riding competition this weekend. … Maine swept Albany this season, 76-65 at home in January and 67-61 in Albany three weeks ago. … Sutton was honored before the game for surpassing 1,000 points in her career. … UNH’s two Mainers did not play because of injury. Junior center Ashley Storey (Cumberland) has been out since mid-January because of a broken foot. She was averaging 17 points over 15 games. Junior guard Sarah Clement (Falmouth) has not played this year because of a lingering knee injury.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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