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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
you expand on what makes Jennifer Hailey such a good player?
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.
do you think of the tournament format this year? It's a pretty big change in
the way it is set up.
Could you tell us a little about your newcomers
and which ones you might think or which one may be immediate contributors for
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.
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
. 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