Monday, January 21, 2008

Hornbuckle Out for One Game

Playing without Alexis Hornbuckle will be like missing several women's basketball players for Tennessee.

The senior guard won't be available for Thursday's SEC game against Arkansas because of a diagnostic test for an undisclosed health issue. UT coach Pat Summitt itemized Monday what the Lady Vols will be doing without and the list was lengthy.

"She (Hornbuckle) sets the tempo for us on the defensive end, and she's one of the best rebounding guards to ever play in this program,'' Summitt said. "She's passionate about playing defense but now she's added to her offensive package and been more efficient there."

A good measure of Hornbuckle's varied abilities is the fact that she and former Mississippi State star Tan White are the only SEC players to have at least 1,000 points, 600 rebounds, 400 assists, 300 steals and 50 blocks during their careers.

Summitt described Hornbuckle's impending one-game absence as a matter of timing.

"This was the best time to do this and take care of the situation,'' Summitt said. "And I didn't want to prolong it. I just thought let's get it over with and move on."

Hornbuckle downplayed how her absence will impact the Lady Vols.

"They'll be OK,'' she said. "They're a strong team. They're coming together well."

Senior Alberta Auguste will start in place of Hornbuckle. This will be the second time in three games that UT will have just eight players available. Forward Alex Fuller sat out last Thursday's game at Kentucky to rest her knees.

Player Of The Week: Forward Candace Parker, who missed Monday's practice because of illness, was named SEC player of the week for the third time this season.

She averaged 21 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in victories over Kentucky and Vanderbilt. She shot 19-for-26 from the floor (73 percent) in the two games.

Counting her five freshman-of-the-week awards, Parker has received 13 weekly honors from the SEC, the most in league history.

After Parker scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Vanderbilt on Sunday, Commodores coach Melanie Balcomb said Parker's teammates make her harder to guard.

"Their starting lineup, it's very difficult to leave any one of those players,'' Balcomb said. "You can't double and triple (team) her like you could in the past."

High-Low Blues: The Lady Vols were burned again Sunday by high-low plays with passes coming from the high post to set up scoring plays under the basket.

"It's one of the hardest things to defend,'' Summitt said. "We've gotten better. We're going to get a lot better. We're going to make it a priority every day in practice."

The Lady would like to benefit from the play as well. But it will require more high-post shots from players like center Nicky Anosike and freshman forward/center Vicki Baugh.

"The problem we have is so much of the time Candace is attracting a player and a half,'' Summitt said. "A lot of times we have that high-post look."

Regarding Baugh, who had nine points and four assists Sunday, Summitt said, "She has the green light. She has to think shot first, pass second."

Awesome Baby: The V Foundation for cancer research has announced that Summitt and Texas Tech men's coach Bob Knight will be the honored guests at the Dick Vitale Gala for cancer research May 16 in Sarasota, Fla.

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