You can follow Coach Consuegra on Twitter @cconsuegraIn just two short seasons with the Charlotte 49ers, Cara Consuegra is already off to the best start for any women’s basketball coach in program history. As she enters her third season in 2013-14, she looks to continue the tradition as the Niners embark on a return to Conference USA in the hunt for their 12th-straight postseason appearance.
Consuegra became the program’s eighth head coach April 26, 2011, and has lifted Charlotte to a 42-20 (.677) ledger during her career. The 42 victories and .677 winning percentage are the most by any women’s basketball coach in school history during his or her first two seasons.
This past season, the 49ers put together a stellar campaign to conclude their stay in the Atlantic 10. Charlotte finished with 26-6 mark, the second best in school history and in the state, while the 13-1 conference record helped assure the program of its 11th-straight postseason berth. Only 12 programs nationally can claim as long of a run of success as the Niners.
Charlotte reached the WNIT Sweet 16 for the second time in the last three seasons, playing all three postseason contests in the friendly confines of Halton Arena. The 49ers continue to put up stellar numbers on their home floor, setting a single-season school record with 14 victories last year while extending a streak of 11-straight seasons with double-digit wins in the on-campus facility that opened in 1996.
Consuegra coached the 2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Jennifer Hailey, along with two other all-conference selections in Amanda Dowe and Ny Hammonds. Hailey became just the second player in school history to receive the highest honor from a league. Consuegra, a former collegiate point guard herself, helped tutor Hammonds to a breakout campaign in which she finished among the nation’s Top 10 in assists per game and set single-season program standards for assists (209) and minutes played (1101).
The Niners won a school record 13-in-a-row during the tough conference season and earned ESPN.com National Team of the Week honors in February. Charlotte also received votes in the March 4 Associated Press poll, the first national recognition for the program since 2002-03.
In June 2013, she completed The Center for Coaching Excellence, a two-and-a-half day elite leadership program on the Columbia campus in New York. A total of 35 head coaches attended the program which was by invitation only and sponsored by the WBCA.
Consuegra began her coaching career in 2011-12 by guiding the Niners back to the postseason and another WNIT appearance with a 16-14 mark. She was one of three finalists for the Maggie Dixon Award, the WBCA’s annual award given year-end to the nation’s top rookie head coach.
Two 49ers garnered All-A-10 plaudits, including Epiphany Woodson being named the conference’s sixth player of the year. Hillary Sigmon also earned a spot on the all-rookie team, becoming the third Niner to accomplish the feat.
Charlotte also played in front of a school record attendance for a stand-alone women’s game with 6,799 witnessing the 77-66 triumph over La Salle Jan. 18, 2012. It shattered the previous mark by over 2,000 and helped the 49ers average 1,637 fans, establishing another program standard.
Before coming to Charlotte, she spent seven years (2004-05 through 2010-11) as an assistant coach at Marquette in the Big East. She helped guide the Golden Eagles to postseason berths each season, including a pair of NCAA Tournament bids, and 145 overall victories.
Marquette captured the 2008 WNIT title and also played in the 2006 WNIT final. The Golden Eagles had four 20-win seasons during her stay in Milwaukee.
One of her main responsibilities was overseeing the development of the program’s backcourt. She worked closely with 2011 WNBA draft pick and All-Big East First Team selection Angel Robinson, 2011 All-Big East Second Team pick Tatiyiana McMorris, 2009 All-American and two-time All-Big East First Team choice Krystal Ellis and Nancy Lieberman Award finalist.
She also served as Marquette’s recruiting coordinator, helping to bring in top-tier classes consistently which included several nationally-ranked players.
Her first job out of college was as Penn State’s director of operations for three seasons, from 2001-02 through 2003-04. The Nittany Lions advanced to the 2004 NCAA Elite Eight and the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Sweet 16 during her tenure with the Big 10 program.
Consuegra completed a stellar four-year career at Iowa with honorable mention Kodak and Associated Press All-American honors her senior season. She was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2001 Big Ten Tournament, helping the Hawkeyes secure an upset over top-seed Purdue in the championship, and was an all-conference first team member following her final campaign.
Consuegra was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award recipient and garnered three All-Big Ten Academic accolades in addition to her trio of all-league honors on the court.
She still holds the school’s career assists record (576). When she concluded her career, which included a pair of NCAA Second Round appearances, she was one of only 13 players in Big Ten history to net 1,000 career points and hand out 500 career assists. She finished her time in Iowa City with 1,147 points.
Following her standout career, she spent on season playing in the WNBA with the Utah Starzz in 2001.
Consuegra, a Mt. Airy, Md., native, graduated from Iowa with honors. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sports, health and leisure studies. She then completed her master’s degree in higher education from Penn State in 2004.
She married JP Josetti in June 2009 and the couple welcomed their first child, Jayden, born Aug. 6, 2013.
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