Consuegra A-10 Media Teleconference transcript
Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
          Release: 10/24/2012
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Wednesday morning Charlotte 49ers head women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra participated in the annual Media Teleconference with media members across the Atlantic 10 and country. Consuegra was the second coach on the call, which began at 10 a.m., and fielded questions from Twitter, radio networks and newspapers.

Below is a transcript of the seven questions asked of Consuegra during the eight-minute segment.

What conference matchup are you most looking forward to this season?
I look forward to all of our conference games in general. I respect all the coaches in this league and they're going to challenge us every night. I'm probably looking forward to playing at Richmond the last game of the year. We had a great game against them last year at our place and I know it will be a key matchup at that point in the season.

Jennifer Hailey had a pretty big year last year. Can you talk about her preparation coming in and what kind of year you anticipate from her?
Well Jenn had a good summer. We really challenged her as a coaching staff to get in the gym more and be able to do things more on her own. I mean, she's a great kid. She comes everyday to practice ready to play but hadn't quite captured the doing some stuff on her own. I think she answered that call this summer. She was in the gym and around more than I've ever seen her. She's gotten stronger and overall just working on her game offensively. I think she needs to continue working on her footwork, which was a big focus for her as well as working on her free throws, but again she is the type of player that is pretty consistent and that's what we come to except from her and it's just a matter of her continuing to work. She is at the point where she can get to the next level so we agree, we think she has a chance at having a fantastic year.

Coach, how much different is it for you coming in this is your second season under your belt? You're getting your starters back. You must be really excited for this upcoming season.
I am excited. It's a different feeling. It's fun to be able to have had this group now for a year and a half, to have better established relationships with the players, to establish trust and for them to know what our expectations are and what we are looking for from them as a coaching staff. It's a good feeling. It's fun to be able to go into practice not feeling like your coaching 13 freshmen, and instead have returners that know what this play is and what we are doing here. You know we are excited and a lot of that, I have to go to my seniors Jennifer Hailey, Amanda Dowe and Jai Forney, who have really stepped up into leadership positions and are excited about having a great senior year.

You touched on it in your last answer but can you discuss a little bit on returning five starters? The raised expectations both inside and outside the program after being selected third in the preseason poll. Could you touch on a little bit of the expectations?
Sure. Well, we put a lot of that pressure on ourselves internally. I mean, Charlotte has consistently been a great team in the A-10 prior to me being here and that is a tradition that I want to continue, especially with it being our last year in the league. We want to represent Charlotte and represent this league to the best of our possible ability. We are excited about it certainly having the five starters and nine letterwinners coming back for strong group, definitely spearheaded by Jennifer Hailey. But you can't forget Amanda Dowe and Jai Forney and you have Hillary Sigmon of the All-Rookie team and Ayanna Holmes, another freshman last year who got a lot of time for us. We are just really excited and I think with our team, it's just a matter of still taking it day-by-day and not look ahead of us. What we been talking about all preseason is trying to get every rep better, every day being better and when we get to the end of the week, we are a little bit better than we were last week. I think if we can stay focused that way, and not worry as much about what everybody else is thinking on the outside, but expect the best from us, we have a chance of being where we want to be at the end of the season.

Could you expand on what makes Jennifer Hailey such a good player?
I think there is a lot of things. First of all, she's got an internal drive to want to be great again. Like I said earlier, she comes to practice everyday with a great attitude, wanting to listen, wanting to learn, wanting to get better. She's very consistent in her play. She's not a player that shows up and you're not sure what you're going to get from her. I mean. you know with Jenn you expect a double-double from her every night. And I mean she expects that from herself so she's a joy to coach and easy player to coach because again she holds herself to those expectations. And now, by having a summer where she's been able to work on her game a little bit more improve her footwork and just bring her drive and passion to another level, has helped her game improve and helped her improve as a leader on this team and I think putting all of those things together can give her a chance at having a really special season.

What do you think of the tournament format this year? It's a pretty big change in the way it is set up.
I think it's interesting. We will have to see what happens when we get there. Certainly going back to playing in Philly, I think is a great venue. We enjoyed being there last year as far as the atmosphere and having that break before the championship game is certainly something different that I never experienced as a head coach. But what we tell our team is we hope that we have had opportunity to do that, again just trying to take it day-by-day and game-by-game. We'll have that same expectation in the tournament and maybe having a chance of playing at the Barclays Center and be in downtown New York City would certainly be a great opportunity for us and our program.

Could you tell us a little about your newcomers and which ones you might think or which one may be immediate contributors for you?
We are pretty excited about our freshmen class, being the first class that I have recruited here at Charlotte. They really, all as a group, have kind of gone beyond my expectations to be honest. Alexis Alexander, our forward out of Atlanta, one out of three from Atlanta, has played really well. She's someone, with our depth in the post, we are going to need her to able to come in and serve some minutes for us. That was something that we struggled with last year. When we have some injuries and we got into some foul trouble with the bigs, our senior bigs, being able to have somebody to step in and contribute. She's done a phenomenal job. I think another one that's really stood out is Shequana Harris. She's a point guard out of New York City. Again, somebody that we have a junior in Ny Hammonds that as of right now we are expecting to be in the starting position but we are going to need Shequana to fill a lot of minutes and she brings a different element at the point. She's a scoring-type guard. She's quick, she's able to make great plays on ball screens and create for other people, so just that level that she can bring and the ability to push the ball and just the ability to play at a quicker pace than everybody else is really exciting for us. Tori Carter out of Atlanta has also done really well to start. She's actually one that probably really exceeded my expectations the most. She's a lefty-playmaker, just kind of a kid that has an act for getting in the lane and making plays. Defensively she has the ability to pressure the ball. And the last one is Kira Gordon, another one of our Atlanta players. She's probably been, quite honestly, our most consistent freshmen. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes, does what we ask her to do, tries to get a little better every day and certainly. If she continues to do that, she will be able to get some minutes for us as well. We expect all four to contribute in some way shape or form.

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