Senior forward Charlie Boyle scored a career-high 36 points as the women’s basketball team defeated the Smith Pioneers 86-77 on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions cruised to a 20-13 lead in the first quarter as Boyle scored 10 points. However, the Pioneers stunned the Lions with a strong second quarter—they outscored Emerson 23-10 and led by six points at halftime.
Head coach Bill Gould said the Pioneers made small adjustments to shift the momentum of the second quarter in their favor.
“I think we got away from doing what had been successful, and we got caught up a bit in what they were doing,” Gould said. “They made a couple of substitutions to change the dynamic of the game a little bit, and I think we just didn’t quite react because we were just so focused on what we had been doing. That hurt us a little bit.”
Smith continued to build its lead by 13 points in the third quarter. However, Emerson quickly responded with a 21-5 run to end the quarter with a 56-53 lead.
Gould said the team followed his halftime message and turned the game around in the third quarter.
“We were winning when we were doing what we were supposed to do—when we executed what we wanted, we were the better team,” Gould said. “I think they took that and ran with it. They did a great job.”
The two teams battled with neither team taking control in the fourth quarter. With a slim three-point lead and less than two minutes remaining Boyle and her sister sophomore forward Sam Boyle hit consecutive layups to finally lift the Lions over the Pioneers.
Charlie and Sam Boyle scored 20 combined points in the fourth quarter alone.
Charlie Boyle’s 36 points led the Lions while senior guard Natalie Busch and sophomore guard Ashley Toner added 15 and 11 points respectively. The Lions shot 46.2 percent from the field and made 21 total assists.
Emerson’s defense faced off against last year’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year Kennedy Guest-Pritchett. She fouled out with just 12 points and nine rebounds.
Charlie Boyle said she believed the team’s preparations and defensive effort on Guest-Pritchett contained her effectively.
“I’ve played against this team before, and they have a post player who’s really good. I was really worried before because I just wanted to give it my all and go at her,” Boyle said. “She’s a really smart, really strong player, and we prepared a lot for her. That matchup, in general, is going to be hard no matter what, but I think we prepared really well.”
The Lions now hold a 7-3 record including a 3-1 record against NEWMAC opponents and rank third out of 11 teams in the standings.
Gould said they will mainly focus on consistency in the second half of the season.
“The biggest thing is consistency,” Gould said. “I don’t mean consistent in making every shot or never making mistakes on defense—I mean consistent of effort and of execution. If we can be consistent with our effort and our execution, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
The Lions travel to play against Tufts University on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.