Transition Game: Changing Ends On The Court and In Life
Audit Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Color Analyst, (Spectrum Sports) University of Kansas Women's Basketball
About Cassandra: A real stand out point guard both on the court and off, Boston literally has too many academic and athletic achievements to name. So we will highlight some of her more prestigious awards including her 2010 NCAA Division II National Championship with the Emporia State Hornets. She was also the MIAA (conference) player of the year and a consensus All-American. She was first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District, MIAA Scholar Athlete, MIAA Academic Honor Roll, and Emporia State University Athletic Director's Honor Roll. That was 2010 alone. She graduated cum laude with a 3.68 GPA in accounting and went on to get her masters. She is now an Audit Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers and a Color Analyst for KU women's basketball. She has embodied what it means to be a SCHOLAR athlete and we are honored to feature her here at Inspire.
Inspire: In today's game transition is huge. Few teams slow the game down and play half court basketball. As a floor general, how did you use the transition to your advantage?
Boston: I love playing and watching fast paced teams. During my four years at Emporia State University (ESU) we looked to push the ball every chance we got. This is an advantage in its own right because it is putting constant pressure on the opponent to get back. As the point guard, it is important to make the right decision about when to push the tempo or when to slow the team down and run a play. Being able to make smart decisions in transition can result in easy points. I used to get assists in transition just by pushing the ball and throwing the ball up a head to 3 point shooters spotting up.
Inspire: What are some keys to taking away from the opposing team's transition game?
Boston: The number 1 Key to stopping a team from scoring in transition is to score. If your team is able to score then the ball has to be taken out of bounds which gives your team time to get back and set up your defense. So, know your offensive game and take high percentage shots. Now we know that no team is going to shoot 100% from the floor, so I think that whenever a shot goes up that 4 people should go to the offensive boards and one person (typically the PG) should head back on defense.
Inspire: I know you were a good scorer. How did you use the transition game to your advantage to get buckets when you struggled to score?
Boston: I would say that I looked to push the ball in transition every opportunity I got. Whenever I am struggling to score it is typically because my shot just won’t fall. It has always been my philosophy to look to drive when my jump shot just isn’t cooperating for the day. Uncontested lay-ups are much easier to come by in transition than they are when the defense has time to get back and set. Taking advantage of transition typically means no help side defense and your opponent already trailing from behind, so best time to turn up the speed and lay the ball up for an easy 2 points. Now if my shot is falling and the situation is right, I’m pulling up for 3 in transition. Anybody who watched me play in college knows that I loved to shoot the 3.
Inspire: You seem to have had a nice transition from playing to the corporate world. Mentally how did you handle giving up the game from a playing stand point?
Boston: My role in the game has changed, but my love for it never will! I miss playing so much! Honestly, it wasn’t an easy transition at all! I was at a point in my life where I had to decide if I wanted to continue playing a game that had been a part of my life since I was 5 years old or if I just wanted to give that up. One thing I knew was that I didn’t want to play overseas. That just wasn’t for me. I had spent 2 weeks overseas during the summer of 2009 playing in a tournament with other college basketball players and after that I just knew! If I would have had any chance to continue playing professionally in the USA then I would have went for it, but the opportunity wasn’t there for me.
Cracking an WNBA roster is hard, just look at the numbers. But its even harder for a player coming from the DII level. Also, I had started my master’s degree and I definitely knew I wanted to finish that. School has always been important to me because of how I was raised and I just knew that I needed to take advantage of being able to complete what I had started while it could be paid for. As mentioned above, right after finishing my college basketball career I stayed at ESU to finish my master’s degree and continued to help with the basketball team. Now this was tough! I was around the game every single day, but in a new way. I was no longer a player, but a coach. I was still at every single practice, film session, weight lifting, team meeting, etc. I couldn’t just get on the court and do what I had always done! I had to teach and show others how to do it. So much easier said than done when you are a player fresh off being done playing a sport you have been in love with all your life. In short, I learned quickly that coaching was NOT for me! I would rather play the game than teach or show others.
Inspire: Lastly, how are you staying connected to the game? How does your mindset transition into real life situations outside of bball?
Boston: Since I have graduated from Emporia State University (ESU) I have always followed the Lady Hornet program because I’m a #LADYHORNET4LIFE! Since I live in Kansas City I don’t make it to as many games as I would like, but I always make sure I find the time to make it to a few games during the season. I would say that the biggest way that I am staying connected to the game is through the KU basketball game broadcasts. This has allowed me to be around the game more by attending the KU women’s basketball practices and learning about the team. It has also made me much more aware of what is going on in women’s college basketball hoops because I need to do my research on the KU opponents, so that I have content to speak on during the broadcasts.
I would say that playing basketball and all the lessons you learn while playing basketball can easily be applied to real life situations. In my job as an accountant I work in teams every single day. So, all the lessons I learned about coming together as one to meet a common goal are applied to my life every day. Basketball also taught me a lot about work ethic and I think that has gotten me a long way in my current accounting career. Time management is an important skill I learned while being a student-athlete. All throughout my college career I had to juggle basketball commitments while finding the time to stay on top of school work. Learning to manage your time with work and other personal commitments is such an important and helpful skill to have in life.