Big East hosts women's hoops professional development

NEW YORK (AP) The Big East Conference spent time this weekend focusing on the future of some of its women's basketball players.

The conference hosted a professional development weekend for players from all 10 of its schools that included a series of panels, question-and-answer sessions and mock interviews.

''Our inaugural Transition Game program provided inspiring speakers, useful information and great energy,'' said Big East commissioner Val Ackerman. ''We hope our student-athletes will draw on the tips, tools and messages our experts offered as they begin to plan for life in the real world.''

One of the highlights of the two-day seminar was a panel of broadcasters that included Providence alum Doris Burke.

''I hope that these women understand the message that everyone seemed to send that regardless of what your field of endeavor is, hard work is going to get you there,'' Burke said. ''The unique thing about the time that we're in now is the way people conceive of what a women's job in sport is, is different, it's changing. We're seeing women now in what we would consider `non-traditional roles' . I think we need young women to aspire to positions outside of the sideline. If you want to be a sideline reporter, that's outstanding and it's a great way to impact a broadcast, but you can be a play-by-play person, the doors are now opening.''

The group of players also toured the Sept. 11 memorial and museum.

''It was so emotional and being with the Big East group and be able to reflect on that together was really special,'' said Georgetown junior Dorothy Adomako. ''It's been different to interact with everyone off the court, especially at dinner - we were able to bond more and it actually felt like we were back in our AAU days.''

One of the most passionate speakers on the weekend was New York Liberty director of player development Teresa Weatherspoon. She talked about what it takes to get to the next level. With only 144 roster spots in the WNBA, the players need to think about other options.

''I searched greatness, I searched excellence. I wanted to understand greatness. I wanted to understand excellence because that's what I wanted for myself because of my commitment to the process,'' she said. ''When I looked up greatness and everything that I searched said there's a price you have to pay. Are you willing to pay the price? And whatever it is that you guys desire to do, doesn't have to be basketball, whatever it is, because we're all unique and wonderful in our own way, there better be a commitment to the process, but know there's a price to pay.''

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