Head women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra recently sat down with the Charlotte 49ers media relations office and talked about her first two months at Charlotte.
You've been here a couple months now, how are things going?
Well I tried to come in without any expectations. We got organized and it feels normal to be here and be a part of this program. The returning players have adjusted tremendously well and have bought into what we are doing here. That has been the best part of this transition is that they are on board and as a result I think it has put us ahead of where I thought we would be right now.
You have had a few months to assess the program. What do you think about the team?
I've been watching a lot of film to get an idea on how we played as a team last year, the strengths and weaknesses of each individual player and I'm excited. I think we have great talent here, a lot of versatility. Our bigs are very good and I'm excited about that and but I think we have a great blend within our guard play. We have some guards that can do some different things. The players all have their own unique strengths and abilities to make things happen. I'm excited about that because that gives us a great deal of versatility.
Can you describe the Cara Consuegra style of play?
I like to play a fast, uptempo style. I've played that way since I was a player back in high school. I think we have the ability to do that, we have guards that can push the ball and great post players that can run the floor well so we are certainly going to try to play up tempo. In the half court I expect to use a lot of ball screens which I like and I believe we have the ability to do that. Defensively, I like our length, I believe we can be very disruptive so putting in different presses, switching up defensively to keep people off balance is what I'm thinking.
I know you haven't coached a game here yet, but how has the transition from assistant coach to head coach going?
I have learned that I have to check my calendar every single night before I go to bed because there is a lot more on my calendar than when I was an assistant coach. As the head coach it's amazing how much of your day is not dictated by you but by everybody else. There's always people stopping in and asking what they need and what the players need, and that's okay but that's probably the biggest adjustment I've had to learn.
What do you think about your coaching staff now that it is in place?
I'm thrilled about our coaching staff, I think we are very fortunate to have great people who believe in the vision I have for this program. It was relatively easy to get our recruiting list going based on the contacts that they have and the knowledge they have of the area but also just being around to bond with our players. Our players have been in and out of the office more times than I can count spending time with our staff, sitting down with them, getting to know them, which is important because then we can find the best way to coach each of them individually. That's a big tribute to the staff and their belief that players are first and I believe that as well.
I know you weren't part of the team that went to the WNIT Final Four, but I know you were part of teams that has success in the WNIT at Marquette, do you think that could springboard into an NCAA Tournament berth?
I hope so. Certainly every year it is going to be our goal to be in the NCAA tournament. With the experience that our returning players had last season, it gives you a little taste, and once you have taste of postseason success, it is definitely something that you never want to go away. I think it is too early to state whether we will be an NCAA Tournament team or not we are going to certainly strive to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Fans know that coaches are really busy from October through March but next month is a really busy time, could you explain what goes on during the month of July?
July is our big recruiting month, we have 20 evaluation days out of the month where we will be on the road plus a couple more days to travel so it is extremely busy. We spend time scouring the nation going to different exposure events. This summer will probably be the most important summer I've been a part of since some players on our list I haven't seen play. It is a huge summer for us in order to evaluate talent and to determine who we want to bring into our family here.
Now that you've lived in Charlotte for a couple of months, is there any place that you're excited about in Charlotte?
Honestly, I haven't done a whole lot. We did have the opportunity to go to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. We went as a staff and had a lot of fun. I thought it was a really cool place to go. That's probably the highlight of my time here so far but hopefully that will change.
Now I know a few months ago you were excited because we have really warm weather here compared to Milwaukee. Now that we've had basically 98-100 degree weather every day for about a month, do you still feel the same way?
I love it, even though I'm sweating walking into the office from my car. I'm actually still really enjoying it.