Lady Vols would cancel series with Duke if fans taunt Hornbuckle
Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt hopes that Duke’s “Cameron Crazies” waving plastic shopping bags and chanting “Wal-Mart” at Lady Vols guard Alexis Hornbuckle are things of the past.
If not, then the series between the two schools might be.
Second-ranked Tennessee (17-1) and No. 10 Duke (15-4) play at 7 p.m. Monday (TV: ESPN2) at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.
“I wouldn’t be in favor of continuing the series if we’re going to go in a gym and they’re going to take personal shots at one of our players,’’ Summitt said.
On UT’s last visit, the Crazies, Duke’s famous student section, used the shopping-bag props to torment Hornbuckle for being arrested as a high school senior on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge at a Wal-Mart in West Virginia.
Hornbuckle, who is expected to play Monday after missing Thursday’s 98-55 victory over Arkansas because of a diagnostic test, said that she isn’t worried about the situation. This visit couldn’t be any worse than the first, when she committed six turnovers and shot 0-for-4 from the foul line, when the “Wal-Mart” chants rang the loudest in her ears.
“It’s nothing,’’ the senior said this week. “It’s something I laugh at now. I mean think about it. It’s something I did when I was 18 years old. I’m 22. That was back in the day.”
Summitt has a different attitude and already has discussed her stance with the Lady Vols athletic administration.
“Even if she’s not going to be there,’’ said Summitt, anticipating future games after Hornbuckle’s departure, “why would you subject a student-athlete to that type of harassment?’’
The contract between the two schools is thought to include a visit by Duke to Knoxville next season before expiring.
Duke announced Friday that Monday’s game is sold out. Tennessee’s two previous visits drew sellouts as well.
“This series has been a great series,’’ Summitt said, “but I was very disappointed the last time I was there with the behavior, in particular of the students toward Alexis. They stepped way over the line on that one.
“Hopefully we’ve moved on.”
Recruiting Rankings: Tennessee had four signees and Connecticut three among Rise magazine’s top 20 high school girls basketball recruits.
UConn signee Elena Delle Donne was ranked No. 1 with UT signee Glory Johnson of Webb School ranked No. 2.
The Lady Vols and Huskies each had two more signees ranked in the top 10. Future Lady Vols Shekinna Stricklen and Amber Gray were ranked sixth and eighth, respectively. Huskies signees Caroline Doty and Tiffany Hayes were ninth and 10th.
The other UT signee recognized was Alyssia Brewer at No. 18.
Three LSU signees — Ayana Dunning, Destini Hughes and LaShondra Barrett — were ranked 12th, 15th and 16th, respectively.
WBCA Awards: Tennessee had a strong presence in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s 2008 superlative awards for Divisions I and II.
Tennessee was recognized for best tradition, best community support and as the best host school. Summitt was named most competitive coach. She and associate head coach Holly Warlick were named best coaching combo.
UT’s pep band also snared a top honor.