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The Journey: Cara Consuegra's return to Marquette

Talia-HS-white-300x300by:Talia Goodman06/24/24

TaliaGoodmanWBB

On3’s Talia Goodman is showcasing women’s college basketball coaches taking over at new schools. This is the sixth edition of the series – in which we’ll take a deeper look at some of the 50-plus coaches who took over new programs during a turbulent offseason. Today, she talks with Cara Consuegra about her return to Marquette.

Cara Consuegra bio

BORN: Mount Airy, Maryland

EXPERIENCE: 2001-04: Penn State (DBO), 2004-11: Marquette (assistant coach), 2011-2024: Charlotte (head coach)

PLAYED: Iowa (1997-2001)

Why Marquette?

Cara Consuegra was the head coach at Charlotte for over a decade. She knew it would take a really special job to draw her away from the 49ers – but the opportunity presented itself for her to return to Marquette, a place she loves dearly, and she knew she had to take it. 

She met her husband there. It’s where she was married and it’s where she wants to continue raising her children – and of course, it’s home to a phenomenal women’s basketball program. 

“When you add those things together, it was a no-brainer for us,” Consuegra told On3. 

After arriving on campus, she knew she’d made the right decision. The history she has with the program and the resources available to her made this the perfect spot for Consuegra. 

“The energy that this place has – I kind of forgot about it because I’ve been gone for so long,” Consuegra said. “Now to be back, there’s just an energy that I think is hard to explain, and it comes from everybody here being aligned and knowing ‘We want women’s basketball to be very, very good…’ Marquette is a basketball school. It always has been. It always will be. You can feel that energy from the people around us. They want to pour into us. They want to help us.”

She’s learned a lot in her time at Charlotte, but the biggest thing she’s gained is her sense of values. She wants to be more than a head coach, but a leader for young women to grow. It’s her job to set the standard and align everyone in one direction based on the culture she builds.

And she’s bringing those values and that culture with her to Marquette.  

Cara Consuegra’s coaching style, mindset

Consuegra’s teams will always be gritty. Her core value is to play with heart. That was evident in her teams each season at Charlotte. It will be true of each team she leads at Marquette. 

“When you see a Marquette team or when you saw a Charlotte team, you could walk out and maybe we won, maybe we lost, but you would always say ‘That team played with heart,'” Consuegra said. “They played hard. They gave great effort. They celebrated each other. They were great teammates. They were tough and gritty. Those are all characteristics that have always described my teams.” 

She takes pride in her squad’s defensive effort and their physicality, with a real emphasis on getting to the free throw line. The offense will change based on personnel, but tough defense is a non-negotiable for a Consuegra-led team.  

It’s been just a few weeks of seeing her new team in person, but there was one player that Consuegra dubbed as Marquette’s next future pro. 

Skylar Forbes is a name to remember,” Consuegra said. “She’s a rising sophomore for us. I’ll go ahead and say it – she’s gonna be Marquette’s next pro. She is that good. So we’re really, really excited for her. Put her on your radar.” 

Something you may not know about Consuegra

Cara Consuegra is a huge country music fan. She loves attending concerts with her husband and they see Kenny Chesney live every summer. 

“Whether you like country or not, he is just an incredible entertainer,” Consuegra said. “His concerts are just like a big party with 100,000 of his friends. So, we always make sure we see him every summer.” 

She’s also a big-time dog lover with an Australian Labradoodle named Benny. Consuegra’s youngest son is allergic to dogs, but fortunately, Benny is hypoallergenic and she believes every family needs a dog. 

“If we could have multiple dogs, we would,” Consuegra said. “But we can’t because we also have multiple young children. But we are the biggest dog lovers.”