Women's basketball preseason notebook - Edition 1 (10.5.12)

Each Friday the Charlotte women's basketball team will be featured in a notebook detailing news and notes surrounding the program leading into the 2012-13 season. Each notebook will feature a series of highlights, a short Q&A with a member of the coaching staff and videos with the 49ers players.

In-depth information on the program can also be found on the Charlotte women's basketball program's official twitter feed @CharlotteWBB. Be sure to watch this week's videos with Tori Carter (here), Ny Hammonds (here) and Olivia Rankin (here).

Start of practice
Charlotte women's basketball officially opened its preseason practice Monday afternoon in pursuit of its 11th-straight postseason appearance. Head coach Cara Consuegra, in her second season at the helm, welcomed back nine letterwinners and all five starters to the fold.

New website launch
The Charlotte women's basketball program has officially launched its own website CharlotteWBB.com. It was a lot of hard work for the staff, especially assistant coach Karen Lange, to put it together, but it will be your destination for exclusive videos and content surrounding the program. Charlotte49ers.com will remain the official site of the program with news, notes, stats and photos throughout the season; however, CharlotteWBB.com will serve as a complimentary avenue.

Making an impact
Members of the Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team and coaching staff will be participating in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure Saturday morning in downtown Charlotte. It marks the fifth-straight year in which the program has participated in the 5k race that begins at 7:50 a.m. The team typically walks with MaryAnn O'Conner, a breast cancer survivor and local Honda dealer.

New voice of the program
The dawn of a new season also brings the addition of a new radio play-by-play voice for the upcoming campaign. Josh Feldman has agreed to call all the 49ers action this year. He currently works as the director of media relations/sales with the Kannapolis Intimidators, a minor league baseball team in Kannapolis, N.C. In addition, he handles the radio for the Intimidators broadcasts. Welcome to Niner Nation, Josh!

TV show taping
The annual season preview TV show will be taped Friday afternoon. Head coach Cara Consuegra will be joined by seniors Jai Forney and Jennifer Hailey on the set, as assistant athletic media relations director Ryan Rose will serve as the host. The show will be seen on channel 22, but also in shorter segments for the November edition of "Inside UNC Charlotte" which airs on WTVI and also channel 22.

Q&A with Assistant Coach Karen Lange
1. Now that you have been here for a year, how would you access this program and the direction in which it is headed?
I would definitely say we're headed in a positive direction. We have had a year to get the players familiar with our coaching expectations and style, which I don't think is very much different from what they were used to before. It's just new characteristics and personalities of each of us. I think we've had a chance to form better relationships with our players over the last year. All that is important for the culture we are trying to create. We're pleased with where we're headed but know there is still a lot of work to do.

2. What were some of the highlights from last season you remember?
Our performances at home were really consistent, especially our game against Richmond at the end of the year was a highlight because I felt we performed really well against a really good team. And we had that leading into our postseason run, making the WNIT yet again. That in itself is a highlight because it continues our postseason appearances consecutively in this program.
Also, I think just the growth of our players. They continued to grow as we went through the year, with a couple earning all-conference selections. That's a credit to them and always good for our program.

3. In order to be successful, what three things must this year's team accomplish?
We've talked a lot about the three things we need to have an identity for Charlotte basketball this season - being very good in transition, lead the conference in rebounding and tougher defensively. Those are three areas we feel like we are very capable of accomplishing. We have the talent and skill, just have to have the effort consistently. I think if we're good in those three areas, we can be a pretty successful team.

4. What is your favorite part of coaching?
Definitely, without question, the relationships with the players and just having an impact on them. I enjoy being someone that teaches them about basketball but also someone that helps them in their everyday life with what they go through as a college student and person.

5. When you aren't coaching, what do you enjoy spending your time doing?
First and foremost, spending time with my children and playing with them. As much time as I put in here with our players and our family here, I want to do that same thing for my children.
I also enjoy playing golf in addition to reading and exercising. Those things are pretty much what I would choose to do if I had a perfect day - play with my children, play a round of golf, go for a long run and just enjoy my free time.

Charlotte women's basketball will open the 2012-13 campaign with an exhibition against Johnson C. Smith November 3 at 7 p.m. in Halton Arena. A week later, November 10, the 49ers begin the regular season with a 6 p.m. tip against North Carolina Central.

Season tickets are on-sale now starting at $30 and are available by calling 704-687-4949 or visiting the "Tickets" menu option at Charlotte49ers.com.