Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball coach Cara Consuegra has a starting point guard on her roster. She’s just not sure who it is yet.
Consuegra is looking for somebody to replace the school’s career assists leader Ny Hammonds, who graduated and is now playing professionally in Lithuania. That could be freshman Griffin Dempsey, senior Ayanna Holmes or sophomores Ciara Gregory and Lefty Webster.
“Griffin is the heir apparent,” Consuegra said Wednesday at Conference USA’s media day. “She has all the qualities you look for in a point guard. She’s been slated in that spot. But there is some work to be done.”
Holmes started all 31 games last season at shooting guard and was backed up by Webster and Gregory.
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“Ayanna brings a comfort level, and we’ve been repping Lefty and Ciara in emergency situations,” said Consuegra, who is 57-36 in her first three seasons at Charlotte.
The 49ers were 15-16 last season and played in the women’s NIT, the program’s 12th consecutive postseason appearance.
Three starters are back from that team – Holmes, wing Hillary Sigmon and forward Kira Gordon. Webster made the preseason all-C-USA team. She averaged 7.4 points and made the league’s all-freshman team last season.
• Charlotte’s men are limited by the NCAA to 16 hours of practice per week this season (out of a maximum of 20) after being penalized for a low multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR). Coach Alan Major said practices usually last about 2 to 21/2 hours, so the 49ers shouldn’t be affected.
Major said the penalty stemmed from players on Charlotte’s 2010-11 team (Shamari Spears, Phil Jones and An’Juan Wilderness) who didn’t graduate. Major said other former players, such as Galen Young, who played in the late 1990s), are returning to school to graduate, which will help future APR scores.
• Charlotte senior point guard Pierria Henry is on most college basketball publications’ preseason all-Conference USA teams. Henry made the first teams chosen by Athlon and Blue Ribbon and is on the 10-player Sporting News squad. He was a second-team selection by Lindy’s. Power forward Willie Clayton made the Sporting News’ team and sophomore guard Brandon Ogbueze is on the all-newcomer team. Clayton was also named the league’s top rebounder by Lindy’s.
• The 49ers men’s average predicted preseason finish of 4.25 from those four publications is fourth highest in the league, behind Louisiana Tech (1.25), Texas-El Paso (1.75) and Old Dominion (3.75).
• Charlotte is one of three C-USA men’s teams to reach the Final Four. The 49ers did it in 1977, Western Kentucky in 1971 and UTEP in 1966 on its way to the national title.
• Conference USA is a 14-team league after adding Western Kentucky from the Sun Belt this season. Tulane, Tulsa and East Carolina left to join the American Athletic Conference.