Erin Boley has finally found a place to start over.
Geographically it's worlds away from the Notre Dame program she is departing. But by the time the 6-foot-2 forward is eligible to play in a game again — the 2018-19 season — perhaps there will be some strong similarities when it comes to the win-loss record.
Oregon's improbable run as a double-digit seed to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament this past March with two rising freshman stars fueling the run of upsets and a promising future were just part of the picture-perfect feel for Boley.
The former Gatorade National Player of the Year chose the Ducks after visiting the Eugene, Ore., campus this past weekend, on the heels of visits to Stanford and Vanderbilt.
“A lot of it had to do with relationships,” Boley told the Tribune. “And I was really looking for a family atmosphere, somewhere where I could really make a home and have really good relationships.
“I wanted to be around coaches that were really invested in me and believed in me and were going to be great mentors and people that felt like family to me. That's really what I was looking for the most.”
Unlike Stanford and Vanderbilt, Oregon was not a program the Hodgenville, Ky., product got involved with coming out of high school. She'll have three years of eligibility once she sits out the upcoming season per NCAA transfer rules.
The Ducks (23-14 Overall) finished sixth in the Pac-12 this past season at 8-10. But, as the 10 seed in the Bridgeport (Conn.) Regional, Oregon knocked off 7-seed Temple, 2-seed Duke and three-seed Maryland before top-seeded UConn truncated the string of uprisings, 90-52, with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
Boley played the best basketball of her fledgling college career in Notre Dame's own trek to the Elite Eight, with the Irish (34-3) playing two games in the Lexington (Ky.) Regional, roughly 85 miles away from where she starred at Elizabethtown High School.
Which is why her announcement in April that she intended to transfer was such a surprise from the outside looking in. For Boley, though, who averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds as a freshman, the decision to leave had been gaining momentum for a while.
“I just really wasn't happy, and I hadn't been for a long time,” she said. “I don't know exactly how to put it into words. I wasn't happy, and I felt like I needed a fresh start somewhere else.”
Sophomore guard Ali Patberg, a former Indiana Miss Basketball, announced her intentions to transfer at the same time Boley did. She previously revealed she will continue her career at Indiana University.
Boley played in all 37 games last season, starting 10. She shot .422 from the field, .395 from 3-point range and .889 from the free throw line.
“It's going to be strange sitting out for a year,” said Boley, who starts summer school classes at Oregon on June 26. “I'm hoping it will be a good year for me to just work on my game and get acclimated to the program and the school.
“I knew what I was kind of looking for this time in recruiting, and I really felt like I fit in really well with what they were doing. I thought the combination of players and coaches is exactly what I was looking for, and I felt like it was a great place with a bright future. And I wanted to be a part of it.”