Q&A with Charlotte North: One of the best in the women’s game and a true sports junkie

By Lauren Merola | Feb 17, 2024

Charlotte North is one of the most decorated women’s lacrosse players in the United States. She first picked up a stick at 13 years old and was offered the final recruiting spot of her year on Duke’s women’s lacrosse team roughly three years later. She played her first two seasons there before transferring to Boston College, where she became a national champion in 2021 and two-time Tewaaraton winner.

But ask her what she wanted to be as a kid and she won’t hesitate.

“I grew up playing basketball and dreaming of playing in the WNBA,” North said.

Take lacrosse out of the question and March Madness is her favorite college sports event to watch. From Dallas, North relished growing up in the Dirk Nowitzki era and said she “went to as many games as possible” as a kid at the Mavericks’ home of American Airlines Arena. Now she basks in the likes of Luka Dončić while admiring the “lack of size but creativity and range” of Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry.

“Now I’d say I’m even a bigger fan of women’s college basketball and the WNBA and the trailblazers that exist in that space,” she said. “I love the sport and I can’t get enough of it.”

North is an Unleashed All-Star playing in the women’s Sixes exhibition game during the Premier Lacrosse League’s 2024 Championship Series on Feb. 17. For North — who graduated as the NCAA all-time leading goals scorer (358) and won a gold medal with the 2022 USA Women’s National Lacrosse Team — before there was lacrosse, there was basketball. And with Sixes, she feels she gets to combine the two.

“I love the two person game, the pick the roll, the stuff that translates over to lacrosse. I loved outside shots, 3-point shots in basketball and I love how that’s incorporated in Sixes,” North said.

It’s even better when remembered that Sixes could help North grasp an Olympic medal.

“To be a young player dreaming of playing in the Olympics one day sounds out of this world, but it’s a reality now.”

North also tried her hand at soccer, softball, tennis and track and field when she was younger, but below she details more on lacrosse: the sport that reigned supreme. 

This conversation was edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: Have you ever played Sixes before?

Charlotte North: In a championship or formal game setting, no. We did it a lot for Team USA, the team that was the 2022 championship team. We would do it regularly at training camps. We used it as a big training method. I loved it.

Sixes is as close as you can get to a combination of the beauty and skill of lacrosse and the pace of basketball. It showcases our game in such a great way. It really allows for athleticism and skill to shine through.

Q: You played point guard growing up and attended a Duke basketball camp. When did wanting to go to college for basketball change to lacrosse?

CN: I didn’t learn about lacrosse, I’m from Dallas, Texas originally, until the later part of seventh grade, heading into eighth grade. I learned about the sport through my friends who played on the school team and let me borrow their sticks. I joined the team, I loved it, I was terrible. I couldn’t figure out how to catch and throw yet but I loved sports and wanted to play as many as I could.

I immediately fell in love with the process of developing skill and learning about lacrosse. I held on to basketball for a long time and continued to play all throughout high school on the varsity team. When it came to a decision, I’m not the tallest on the basketball team so I knew my chances weren’t too high of going to play in college. There was a little bit of interest there, but I just loved lacrosse. I held onto basketball for a long time, up until my last high school game of my senior year. It was hard to say goodbye.

Q: You’re new to Sixes. Besides that, when was the last time you tried something new?

CN: I would say broadcasting. I started my broadcasting career about a year ago, my first season out of college. I called some men’s and women’s lacrosse games at the collegiate level and then I got to call some PLL games. I’m still learning so much about that world and loving it. I’m back calling games again this season.

Q: What’s been the most meaningful point of your lacrosse career to date?

CN: Playing at Boston College was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The coaching staff there taught me so many valuable lessons about culture, setting goals and sacrificing to achieve success. Getting to win a national title with that team is so special and something I’ll remember forever. 

The other one would be winning a gold medal with Team USA. I was fortunate enough to be a member of that team that had some of the biggest stars, legends of the game. The best players to have ever played, in my eyes, were on that team. I got to learn from them in how they lead a team and approach the game. Being in a locker room with them, I got to witness their greatness.

Q: Where would winning an Olympic gold medal land on that list?

CN: Just hearing “gold medal” sounds so crazy. I’m in a really fortunate spot to be able to continue to compete beyond college. A few years ago, that wasn’t a possibility for women. To play it at a professional level and hopefully an international level for years to come is a dream come true.

Lacrosse in the Olympics will deliver on the biggest stage in the world. That’s where the best of the best are competing and people train their whole lives to be an Olympic athlete. It’s definitely an inspiring goal of mine.

Who are you most excited to play with on the North team?

CN: To be able to play with Dana Dobbie on the North squad is an absolute dream. She is someone I’ve idolized for as long as I’ve been playing. Her stick creativity and what she’s done with transforming how people view an offensive player in women’s lacrosse, she’s defied all the stereotypes of what women’s lacrosse was. I’m so blown away by the fact I get a chance to play with her. I’ve played against her on Team Canada a few times. 

If you couldn’t play or watch lacrosse for a day, how would you spend your time?

CN: I just love watching sports so whether it’s lacrosse on TV or it’s football, I’d love to be on vacation, maybe on a beach, with the people I love watching sports. That’s a pretty ideal day to me.