Maine’s Parise Rossignol makes a pass against Albany during the America East semifinals Sunday at the University of Maine in Orono. Morning Sentinel photo by Dave Leaming

BANGOR — Early Wednesday afternoon, in an otherwise empty  Memorial Gym, University of Maine senior Parise Rossignol shot.

Teammates wandered in and out of the Pit, on their way to and from the training room, but for the better part of an hour, it was Rossignol, alone, firing up shot after shot after shot.

Shooters shoot.

In Friday’s 68-48 win over Hartford, Rossignol rediscovered her shot. The senior from Van Buren went 5 for 9 from three. Her first one came 29 seconds in, and ensured that the Black Bears would never trail in the game.

Rossignol finished with 15 points, on 5 for 9 shooting from 3-point range. It was her highest point output since she scored 18 points the last time Maine played Hartford, a few weeks ago in the regular season.

“It’s no secret I haven’t been shooting it great for a little bit, but honestly, it’s my teammates, the confidence they show in me,” Rossignol said.

In the five games leading up to the America East championship game, Rossignol struggled. She was just 3 for 23 from 3-point range, 7 for 40 overall from the field. The low point was an 0 for 10 in the regular season finale at Binghamton. On Friday afternoon, that game was a lifetime ago to Rossignol and the Black Bears.

Shooters have short memories.

“I’ve put the work in, too. I’m confident I’m a good shooter. Whatever happens, you’ve got to forget about the last shot,” Rossignol said.

Things like Wednesday’s long shooting workout alone are not unusual for Rossignol. If you’re going to be one of the top 3-point shooters in the country —even after struggling for a few games Rossignol was 33rd in the nation in 3-point percentage, making 40.4 percent of her shots — you don’t get there by rolling out of bed and jacking up threes. You work at it.

“It’d be a lie if I said I didn’t put in extra time lately,” Rossignol said.

Rossignol’s first three, her first shot of the game, came a couple steps left from the top of the key. Almost a minute later, Rossignol hit her second three, this one from the corner in front of Hartford’s bench. It gave the Black Bears a 6-0 lead.

“When you hit your first one, it definitely helps moving forward,” Rossingnol said.

Maine coach Amy Vachon said she never needed to give Rossignol a pep talk when she was struggling. Vachon saw the work Rossignol put in. Vachon knew the shots would fall.

“People forget in the middle of the season, she was shooting like 70 percent from the 3-point line. It was just incredible. I think she kind of came back to earth for a little bit,” Vachon said. “That kid, I saw it in the last couple of days in practice she’d been shooting it better. She loves playing here, so I felt like today would be a good day for her.”

Rossignol’s fifth and final 3-pointer came with 7:13 to play in the game, and was the exclamation point in the Black Bears’ game-clinching second half rally. Hartford had cut Maine’s lead to two points, 32-30, early in the third quarter, before Maine pulled away. Rossignol’s fifth three made it 56-41, and the 3,234 fans in the Cross Insurance Center knew that was pretty much ballgame.

Rossignol hit the 100th 3-pointer of her career in Friday’s win. She now has 103 threes, with at least one more game to add to that total. Maine will no doubt be an underdog in the first round of the NCAA tournament (the bracket will be released Monday night). The Black Bears are good, but they’ll likely be up against a team from a power conference. They’ll need another strong shooting game from Rossignol to have a chance.

Friday’s conference championship was Rossignol’s final game at the Cross Insurance Center. A couple years ago, after her sophomore season, Rossignol left the Black Bears. At that point in her life, basketball wasn’t fun. When Vachon became head coach, she convinced Rossignol to rejoin the team. Now, she’s a conference champion twice over, and a player who came up big when the Black Bears needed her.

“It means everything. I think about where I was two years ago, and the opportunity I had to come back here,” Rossingnol said. “Honestly, I lived my dream, to win back-to-back championships. The people I get to share it with make it even better.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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