Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hornbuckle tops 1,000th for career

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - One basket added up to so much for Alexis Hornbuckle on Wednesday night.

A single jump shot during her homecoming game against West Virginia, pushed the Lady Vols' senior guard past the 1,000-point career mark in Tennessee's 67-49 victory.

In reaching the scoring milestone before a crowd of 10,677 at the Charleston Civic Center, a record crowd for a women's game in the state of West Virginia, Hornbuckle joined UT legend Chamique Holdsclaw as the only other Lady Vol with at least 1,000 points, 550 rebounds, 375 assists and 275 steals for her career.

"I feel great coach allowed me to make my 1,000th point back home,'' said Hornbuckle, who had 12 points and 8 rebounds. "It's an honor to be mentioned with the name of Chamique Holdsclaw."

Hornbuckle's achievement didn't diminish teammate Candace Parker's scoring show. She had a game-high 29 points for top-ranked Tennessee (4-0). The All-American forward also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, part of the Lady Vols' 50-35 dominance.

Lady Vols center Nicky Anosike had a Hornbuckle-like stat line with 10 points, eight rebounds, six steals and five assists.

Olayinka Sanni led No. 16 West Virginia (3-1) with 16 points.

"If we keep packing our defense and board play on the road we have a chance to be successful every night,'' UT coach Pat Summitt said.

Hornbuckle's return to her hometown wasn't exactly in keeping with her low-key intentions. A banner welcoming her was draped across the lobby of the team hotel. The dinner prepared by her parents Tuesday night was served at the family church, complete with the accompaniment of a choir.

Then Hornbuckle picked up a foul during the game's first minute. It didn't slow her down, however, or her team for that matter.

The Lady Vols bolted to a double-figure lead inside the first six minutes. Parker was her usual scoring self, accounting for 10 of UT's first 17 points. But 5-foot-2 guard Shannon Bobbitt reaching a career high for rebounds with five in the first 11 minutes reflected UT's 28-16 dominance of the boards in the first half.

Leading 24-12, the Lady Vols gave the starters some rest and lost some momentum. Three consecutive turnovers gave the Mountaineers an opening to rally and they closed to 24-20.

Tennessee's starters returned and freshman Angie Bjorklund helped restore order with a jumper and a nifty assist, flipping a behind-the-back pass in traffic to Parker for a layup.

Hornbuckle gave her cheering section and the UT bench a scare when she went down hard on a run-out layup after being fouled by West Virginia guard Chakhia Cole. Hornbuckle was fine and so were the Lady Vols, building their lead to as much as 15 points before going off at the break with a 37-26 advantage.

The Lady Vols struggled to keep up their points pace immediately after halftime. West Virginia played almost exclusively in a zone alignment to start the second half, trying to capitalize on UT's 3-point shooting, which never warmed up and finished at 3 for 18.

The Lady Vols had to work a little harder and Anosike was just the Lady Vol to do it. If the senior center wasn't scoring on a putback basket, she was stealing a pass in the backcourt and driving the length of the court against Cole's pressure for a layup.

Anosike's two baskets pushed Tennessee's lead back to 46-31.

UT freshman forward Vicki Baugh played just five minutes. She was held out as a precaution after straining her left knee in the first half.

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