Cara grew up training and honing her basketball skills at the Frederick Young Men’s Christian Association. She was three times the basketball Frederick County Area Player of the Year. She led the Linganore Lady Lancers to two state championships and a 55-game win streak. In 1996 she was named to the AAU All-American Team. She went on to become a four-year starter for the Iowa Hawkeyes and captained her last three years. In her senior Hawkeye Big Ten Championship season, she was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She was All-Big 10 and AP Honorable Mention All-American. She was drafted by the WNBA Utah Starzz and played one season before embarking on a college basketball coaching career. She became the head women’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2011.