A freshman who aspires to create in the animation studio has spent her first year at Emerson College carving out a prominent scoring role on the women’s basketball team.
Charlie Boyle said her arrival on campus came thanks to her passion for Pixar. Her presence on the court for the Lions has been as fierce as that of the shark Bruce in Finding Nemo’s deep sea.
“That’s been her biggest attribute so far. She is a really strong player,” head coach Bill Gould said. “She is able to handle a lot of things that other freshmen sometimes struggle with, because they’re not used to that kind of physical play.”
Boyle, who stands six feet tall, is pacing the offense, leading the team with 13.3 points scored per game, a total that’s also good for fifth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
Boyle’s scoring ability was first on display in Emerson’s second game of the season, a 74-46 victory over the University of Maine at Farmington. The first-year center dropped 21 points on the Beavers despite seeing just 14 minutes of action, and tied her season-high in rebounds with six.
“That was the first time I realized that as a freshman, I could actually contribute to the team,” Boyle, a visual and media arts major, said.
Boyle’s fast start hasn’t gone unnoticed in the NEWMAC. Gould said opponents have been concentrating on their preparation for Boyle, and in turn, she must now expand her toolkit to continue a successful inaugural campaign.
“She needs to learn how to go to step two with her play, because they’re now taking step one away,” Gould said. “You just need to be able to read it, understand it, and then execute it.”
Boyle said she’s experienced heavier defensive coverage as the season has progressed, and has been working on devising new methods to persevere.
“I have to get better at doing the countermove,” Boyle said. “As they’re double teaming me, I can’t do what I want to do as much.”
Boyle said including teammates more often is part of combatting the increased attention. Despite having scored 45 more points than her closest in-house competitor, sophomore Sierra Ducey, Boyle said her preference is to pass first.
“I think I have a pretty good feel of my teammates, and where they are,” Boyle said. “If someone’s more open than me, I’d rather that they take [the shot].”
As conference play continues, Boyle is focused on upping her rebound totals. While she’s settled into third place on the team with 65 boards, Boyle said she believes she can improve fundamentally.
“I’ll box them out, but I won’t release to go get the ball,” Boyle said. “The ball will just fall in front of me, and I don’t release to go get it, so someone else will grab it.”
When Boyle isn’t working to develop the rebounding skills of Finding Nemo’s famous seagulls—though they prefer fish to Wilson basketballs—she’s training in pursuit of a long-held dream to return to her home state of California and bring characters like Nemo to life.
“I’ve always had a love for Disney—Disneyland and everything animated—but I never really thought that could be a career until coach called me and was telling me about Emerson,” Boyle said.
Junior forward Olivia Still shares Boyle’s passion. When Still hosted Boyle on her recruiting visit, she said the two instantly connected while talking about their favorite big screen hits.
“She was talking about animation, and we realized we both really loved Pixar, we both loved watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, so we kind of bonded over that,” Still, a visual and media arts major, said.
Beyond their common interests inside and outside the gym, Still said Boyle’s character should allow her to thrive in the future.
“She’s a very dedicated person,” Still said. “She works really hard at practice every day, and she’s really open to trying new things and really getting out there and getting after it, which will help in life, and in animation and basketball.”