WASHINGTON - The BIG EAST Conference hosted its second annual Transition Game Program this past weekend in New York City and four women’s basketball student-athletes were in attendance for the event. The interactive program aimed to assist current women’s basketball student-athletes in the transition from college player to emerging professional, both on and off the court. Seniors Yazmine Belk (Queens, N.Y./Nazareth Regional), Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va./Yorktown/Virginia), DiDi Burton (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College Prep) as well as junior Dionna White (Baltimore, Md./Milford Mill) represented Georgetown at the event.
The schedule included panels comprised of former BIG EAST standouts; WNBA and collegiate leaders from the court, the sidelines and in the front office; and renowned media personalities. Student-athletes also enjoyed interactive sessions on mock interviews and assessing personal strengths. Additionally, it featured a visit to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan and dinner at an iconic New York City restaurant.
“My experience at the BIG EAST Transition Game was great. The speakers who were there spoke about basketball and life after graduation,” said Belk. “They gave me the tools I need in order to be successful and showed that the BIG EAST staff cares about where their players end up when basketball is over.”
One of the highlights for the Hoyas was the addition of former Georgetown standout Sugar Rodgers, who was recently crowned WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, on the panel discussing playing at the next level. She spent time speaking with the current Hoyas, encouraging them to prepare for the next step. The panel also included Renee Brown, former WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations & Player Relations, and recent Villanova graduate Emily Leer, who played professionally in Ireland. Sarah Kustok, former DePaul standout and current Brooklyn Nets analyst for the YES Network, was the moderator.
Doris Burke, a Providence graduate, acclaimed sideline reporter and analyst, then joined three-time Olympic Gold Medalist current New York Liberty Associate Head Coach Katie Smith, along with New York Knicks Senior Vice President of Business Operations Kristin Bernert to discuss career opportunities in the world of basketball on a second panel. The student-athletes participated in the StrengthsQuest exercise, a personal assessment focused on building each individuals’ natural strengths, along with a series of mock interviews.
“This weekend, I learned from some of the best in women’s sports,” said Venson. “I was fortunate to experience what it means to be a professional.” All 10 BIG EAST schools sent women’s basketball student-athletes who were selected at the institution’s discretion. More than 30 student-athletes attended, along with leaders from across the conference’s campus administration.
“The BIG EAST Transition Game was a great experience,” said White. “I thought it was very informative. I learned a lot about myself, and also concepts I can take back to share with the rest of the team.”