Despite several transfers and the Head Coach sitting out the season, Maine is #1 in America East
To say that the University of Maine women’s basketball team has overachieved this year would have to be an understatement. What the Black Bears have done, and continue to do, is incredibly impressive.
Last year was a great year for the Black Bears, making a run to the America East Championship game. After falling in the title game to Albany, several members of that team announced that they were transferring. Maine also lost all-star guard Sigi Koizer to graduation.
Maine announced that Richard Barron would be out for the 2017-18 season on medical leave. Amy Vachon, who had done a remarkable job as interim head coach, would remain in that position for another season. Kudos to Coach Vachon for what she has been able to do at the helm.
The future looked a bit questionable for the Black Bears, who had made back-to-back appearances in the America East title game. Coaches around the league seemed to have their doubts as well, picking the team to finish sixth in the America East preseason poll.
The Black Bears currently sit tied atop the America East standings with a record of 17-9, 10-3 in conference play. Maine had won eight straight, before seeing that streak snapped on Sunday afternoon at Stony Brook. Several of the games lately have not been close. Maine beat preseason unanimous favorite New Hampshire by 31 points last Thursday night. Last weekend they beat Binghamton, who currently sits in third place, by 23.
Sophomore Blanca Millan of Spain leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Classmate Julie Brosseau of Quebec is adding 12.0 points per game. Junior Tanesha Sutton of Philadelphia is averaging 10.9 points per game, and a team-high seven rebounds a contest. Fanny Wadling of Sweden is chipping in with 6.8 points per game.
Parise Rossignol, a native of Van Buren, who Maine fans should be familiar with, rejoined the Black Bears this season. She has started 13 games. Maine has two other Mainers on the team in junior Maddy McVicar of Calais and sophomore Sierra Tapley of Bar Harbor.
For the first time in years the America East Tournament will be held in Maine at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The quarterfinals will be held on Saturday, March 3 with the semifinals being held the following day. The Championship will be hosted at the highest remaining seed on Friday, March 9. I think that it would be great if the entire tournament were held in Maine!