AUGUSTA — Signing one player from a local high school is a big achievement for a college program; signing two from the same school is truly special; signing three? It’s about as rare as hen’s teeth.

On Tuesday, though, that’s just what happened for the University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball program. Lawrence seniors Liz Crommett, Ali Higgins and Bri Poulin met at the Augusta Civic Center, where they signed on to play for the Moose starting in the 2023-24 season.

“I’m really proud that we could get three great players and great kids from the same school right here in central Maine,” said UMA head coach Heath Cowan. “When you’re recruiting three players, you hope you get one, and when you talk to four, you hope to get two, so to get all three of them to sign, it’s huge for this program.”

During summer basketball, Higgins approached Cowan about the possibility of continuing her playing career at UMA after graduating high school. Cowan then took the opportunity to see Higgins play and was equally enamored with Crommett and Poulin, also major contributors for Lawrence.

After talking with the trio, Cowan knew he wanted to make all three the newest members of the program. The players reciprocated the feeling, and after the conclusion of the field hockey season, they arranged to finalize their collegiate commitments. 

“I knew I wanted to keep playing; I didn’t want to be done with basketball because I’ve put too much time and money into this,’” Crommett said. “We had talked to the coach, and he was like, ‘How would you guys like it if you all committed together?’ We all thought it would be pretty dope.”


Higgins said she was sold on UMA after positive interactions with nearly everyone in the program. Finding the right head coach is often the key factor for young athletes looking to navigate the recruiting world, and the senior guard also got good vibes from her future teammates.

Liz Crommett, left, Bri Poulin, University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball head coach Heath Cowan, and Ali Higgins pose after the Lawrence seniors committed to play for the Moose next season. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I really liked Coach Cowan right away; he really made it seem fitting, kind of like a family, and very welcoming,” Higgins said. “When I met the other girls on the team, they were also really welcoming. It was close to home for me, too, so just I felt like it was all perfect from there.”

UMA is no stranger to signing star players from Lawrence. Greg Chesley, the current head coach of the girls team, was a major contributor for the men’s program, as were his son, Keith, and daughter, Hunter. Fellow ex-Bulldog Dustin Simpson-Bragg joined Greg and Keith on UMA’s list of 1,000-point scorers in 2018.

Adding central Maine players to the program, Cowan said, is a major boost for a program that relies on talent from the immediate area to succeed. Central Maine players help UMA get better draws on game days, and the talent, Cowan added, is there for the Moose to win with local kids alone.

“The reality is that central Maine girls basketball is really, really good,” Cowan said. “Our goal is to get great kids like these three to come play for us. We’re really excited for them to be with us going forward.”

Crommett and Higgins will be studying nursing at UMA. Poulin plans to major in business.

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