She tends to stick to the baseline, where she likes to wear down opponents in the tradition of her favorite player, Chris Evert. "Annie never gets down and never gives up," says Boucher's doubles partner last year, Hilary Berger, who also plays No. 2 singles. "I see her running all over the court and I think, She's 50 and I'm 19.1 can do this too."
What Boucher, who is paying for her education with the help of loans, financial aid, grants and an athletic-department job, is aiming for now is a B.A., which she hopes to earn next spring, and eventually a master's in social work. She hopes to take what she is learning back to the people who need it most in Queens. Says Boucher, "If someone cannot read or write and thinks that it's too late for them, they just have to get out of the rocking chair and go to school."
Some students don't know what to make of the middle-aged woman who sits in the front row of their classes, but to many she is a friend and confidante. One student came to her when she had no one else to turn to and told Boucher that she was pregnant. Boucher did her best to help. "I can't afford to judge," says Boucher, "because I had a lot of secrets, too."
Boucher usually studies in the library so she won't be tempted to waste time talking on the phone or chatting with friends in the dorm. But she has been known to accompany other coeds to Alex's, a local watering hole. Like any other student, she has been carded there.
Then, just when she seems to be fitting in perfectly, her maternal instincts will get the best of her, and Boucher will call out to a coed leaving the dorm on a cold winter's day: "Be sure to wear a hat."