CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The fourth week of Charlotte women’s basketball preseason practice has come to a close, and with it, is the latest edition of the notebook leading up to the exhibition opener Nov. 2 against Johnson C. Smith.
Each week of the preseason notebook, we will feature activities surrounding the program, interviews with members of the support staff and video interviews with players, chosen at random. This week’s players interviews include freshman Tanisha Brown (here), sophomore Kira Gordon (here) and junior Olivia Rankin (here).
Last Saturday the Charlotte athletics department hosted its annual basketball Fan Day inside Halton Arena. The women’s program was introduced to the crowd, conducted a 20-minute scrimmage, signed autographs for the fans and assisted in a youth clinic.
Thursday night was the annual Basketball Madness event inside Halton Arena with thousands of students in attendance. After the both teams were introduced, a variety of activities took place on the playing floor.
Head coach Cara Consuegra participated in a free throw competition with head men’s basketball coach Alan Major to open the event. Four women’s players, Alexis Alexander, Tanisha Brown, Olivia Rankin and Ayanna Holmes, were the women’s representatives during the team dance competition.
Holmes then showcased her talents in the skills challenge, in which she beat men’s player Braxton Ogbueze by completing the cone dribble, making a 3-pointer, converting a layup and then riding a kid’s tricycle back to midcourt in a faster time.
Hillary Sigmon drained 10 3-pointers in 45 seconds, easily knocking off her men’s counterpart, Ben Cherry, who made just three.
Let Me Play
Thursday was also the day of the annual Let Me Play luncheon, an annual fundraising event for women’s sports put together by the 49er Club. The entire coaching staff of Cara Consuegra, Karen Lange, Joanne Aluka-White and Nicole Woods was in attendance in addition to players Meme Garner, Ciara Gregory and Kenya Olley.
Two freshmen players have decided to be known as their nicknames, rather than given first names, in all references moving forward. Forward Mylia Garner will now be known simply as Meme Garner, while guard Danielle Webster prefers to be called Lefty Webster.
Season and individual game ticket information is available on Charlotte49ers.com or by calling (704) 687-4949. Reserve your seat now as the 49ers look to improve upon last year’s 14-4 home record, which set a single-season school mark for home victories.
This week’s support staff interview is with video coordinator Nate Dixon. Dixon, a Sparta, N.C., native is in his second year working at Charlotte and with the women’s basketball program.
1. You have a pretty extensive coaching background. Where all have you been over the years?
This is starting my 16th year and I started as high school coach but that’s not counting high school and AAU in New Jersey. Then I coached four years in the Charlotte area at Queens College and Belmont Abbey at the Division II level, making this is my 12th season in Division I. I was in Florida for a couple of years at Stetson and Florida and also in Louisiana for five years with a couple different schools before moving to Wyoming. Finally, a couple of years back I came back here to Charlotte. I do have quite a unique experience background.
2. How has your coaching background prepared you for your current position?
Good question. As far as how it has prepared me with my coaching background, I have done a lot of scouting for a lot of programs. I did do a lot of video work with my last position at Wyoming. I was in charge as an assistant coach of doing all our video editing and scouting. I did every scout video-wise work for us as well as our self-scout work, and a few years before that, in New Orleans I split scouts in a lot of places. I have done a lot of video work for that but my position is a little bit different and unique so I don’t know how I was prepared other than being in a lot of different places and being able to meet a lot of different people.
3. You work with both the women’s and men’s programs. How do you find balance between the two?
Well honestly I don’t know, the best way is to say that I make sure that the head coaches are taken care of, Coach Major and Coach Consuegra, and then I do have two more liaisons in Coach Oliver and Coach Lange that I deal with on each staff. But it can be very trying. I am a person that tries to please everyone. It is my personality. That is the way I was raised. It does become difficult at times because you get stretched in a lot of different areas and you got to please 8-to-10 people, so it becomes very trying, but it is also fun because I do work for two great people and two great staffs which also makes it a lot of fun.
4. How has technology changed over the years to make someone in your position do it better?
Technology has changed a lot. With the addition of iPads in the last couple of years, I know last year both head coaches now very rarely use computers. They watch their edits and the games on their iPads which makes it more convenient for traveling. It’s a little quicker and smaller files, they are MP4 files. As far as computers, we did change this past year from PCs into a Mac format and a new editing system. For me I was more familiar with that system but we used several that we’ve had in the past at other places but I think that technology has sped up the world. And you can get things at your fingertips now that before would take you awhile. It used to be with video converting that would take in a VHS, going from deck to deck and making edit tapes. Now we put it on a machine and basically have as much time we want to spend on it and it’s done. The speed of things, the ease of moving things from computer to computer or iPad to iPad has just absolutely changed the profession.