Hornbuckle's heroics

Lady Vol senior's putback winning basket

From left, Tennessee's Alexis Hornbuckle (14), Candace Parker, and Nicky Anosike, right, surround Tennessee's Alberta Auguste (33) in celebration after Auguste scored against LSU. Tennessee defeated LSU 47-46 and will advance to the NCAA Championship game Tuesday against Stanford in Tampa, FL.

Photo by Saul Young

From left, Tennessee's Alexis Hornbuckle (14), Candace Parker, and Nicky Anosike, right, surround Tennessee's Alberta Auguste (33) in celebration after Auguste scored against LSU. Tennessee defeated LSU 47-46 and will advance to the NCAA Championship game Tuesday against Stanford in Tampa, FL.

Photo with no caption

TAMPA, Fla. - Candace Parker didn't have a gut feeling about what was taking place Sunday night.

And that was a good feeling for the Tennessee All-American and the Lady Vols in a tense struggle with LSU at the Women's Final Four.

"You know when you think you're going to lose and your stomach drops; that never happened,'' she said.

There were plenty of chances, like after Erica White's two free throws with 7.1 seconds left gave LSU a one-point lead. Or after her subsequent headlong dribble drive the length of the court ended with a miss and a follow-up rebound miss by teammate Nicky Anosike.

"I saw the (Anosike) miss come off and I saw Lex coming,'' Parker said. "Then I blanked out."

Her stomach was safe and so was Tennessee. Alexis Hornbuckle's rebound basket with seven-tenths of a second left gave the Lady Vols a dramatic 47-46 victory before a crowd of 21,655 at the St. Pete Times Forum and a spot in the national championship game.

Tennessee (35-2) will face Stanford at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday (TV: ESPN). The Cardinal beat Connecticut 82-73 in Sunday's other semifinal.

Hornbuckle, who was 1-for-8 from the floor, had missed badly seconds earlier. Then she fouled White, setting up White's two free throws.

UT's final response was a play that assistant coach Dean Lockwood estimated the Lady Vols had practiced "10 times" this season.

"It's a complete scramble," he said.

All things considered, it was a fitting ending for a game that was a complete struggle. The teams combined for a Final Four-low 93 points

Parker, who twice suffered a dislocated left shoulder against Texas A&M last Tuesday, shot an unsightly 6-for-27 from the floor in scoring a team-high 13 points.

"I'm not going to make excuses,'' Parker said. "I struggled out there on the court. I wanted to give it my all."

She grabbed a team-high 15 rebounds and recorded three blocks.

Between Parker and Hornbuckle, Lady Vol Alberta Auguste, who scored 10 points, had a lot of encouraging to do.

"Sometimes you have to be in their ear,'' Auguste said. " 'We're still here. We still have a chance to win.' ''

Shannon Bobbitt was Tennessee's other double-figure scorer with 11 points.

Sylvia Fowles had 24 points and 20 rebounds for LSU (31-6).

Both teams scored just one basket apiece in the first six minutes, prompting one fan to say "first one to 10 wins."

Parker missed her first five shots, essentially settling for jumpers before hitting a right-handed hook in the lane with 11:22 left in the first half. The basket gave UT a 9-6 lead.

The Lady Vols maintained their lead despite losing center Nicky Anosike, who picked up her second foul with 8:50 left in the first half and sat out the rest of the half.

A play that figured to give LSU a boost actually worked in Tennessee's favor.

LSU's Fowles registered a resounding block on a driving shot attempt by Parker. The force of the blow was such that the basketball bounced off Lady Tigers guard Quianna Chaney's head and created a transition opportunity that Fowles finished with a layup.

Instead of LSU being fired up, Parker responded with three consecutive baskets - two right at the rim - and a block of her own, pushing the Lady Vols' lead to 19-11.

The Lady Vols held their advantage until halftime, leading 22-18 despite shooting 28.6 percent from the floor (10-for-35). Parker had eight points but was shooting 4-for-15.

LSU wasn't much better at 30.8 percent (8-for-26). The 6-foot-6 Fowles also was struggling, needing 13 shots for her 12 first-half points.

The Lady Vols scoring problems were such that they substituted veteran Hornbuckle with freshman Angie Bjorklund for a portion of the second half, sacrificing defense and experience for a shot at some points.

Despite their struggles, the Lady Vols never trailed by more than a point and led for the majority of the game. They expanded their lead to 37-27 after a pretty move by Parker led to a basket and free throw with 11:15 left.

LSU scored the next five baskets to set up the frantic finish.

"Our motto has been if we're not scoring, they better not be scoring,'' Anosike said. "I think that's been our mindset."

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Comments » 83

danthemanwells#1340833 writes:

unbelievable

huntined#565710 writes:

WOW!! WHAT A GAME
Will be there TUE
GO VOLS

hallmo11 writes:

How do you do it, ladies??? We are amazed at the way in
which you "gut out" another victory.
Thanks for making us so proud!!!
Alexis, your 2 were the best 2 of the night!!

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

That was an intense finish. I feel like heckling some UCon fans. Heh, heh....

ODA751 writes:

San Antonio? OK. Good tough win ladies. Time to pay back Stanford.

dfreeman writes:

Bring it home Ladies!! Candace you are unbelievable!! Lex you can miss all the shots you want to as long as the one you hit wins the game!! You guys are awesome!!

SCVolsFan writes:

WHEE..... My old heart can't take this.
What a game!! Then there was 2.
GO LADY VOLS!!

woodwr#217203 writes:

Are the Lady Vols trying to give us all heart
attacks?

Some of our wives and daughters are going to collect on our life insurance.

faithfulvol writes:

I am still having heart palpitations........Our girls are unbelievable, they just have it in them to pull these kind of games out. That is what being #1 is all about!!!!
Parker......she's just awesome and is the difference on that court!
Auguste was the difference in this game tonight though. She stepped it up!!!
Everybody step it up and blow out Stanford!
Go Lady Vols, can't believe this season is almost over!!! Gonna miss this team!

huntined#565710 writes:

The more I watch these games the more I see the E.S.P.N. PRO PICKERS DON'T KNOW JACK!!!
They all had UCONN to win it all.
Makes you wonder if these writers know anymore than the reg. guy just watching

daver1#213519 writes:

Lady Vols continue to show heart of a champion. Congrats to Pat and all the Ladies.
I don't typically criticize officials, but I cannot believe how this game was officiated. It seemed the only time they would call a foul on Sylvia Fowles was if an ambulance was needed.

daddyaxe writes:

Eat you heart out Geno and ESPN

faithfulvol writes:

Yes the officiating was horrible! Totally agree daver1.

waldeen_hinson#435189 writes:

Girls,
You make me so proud to be a Tennessee Vol!! Just keep up the good work and do it again Tuesday!!
I can't watch the game on TV. It makes me so nervous. I get on my laptop and listen to the broadcast by Mickey Dearstone. He tickles me to death. He tells it like it is.

GO LADY VOLS!! You are the best!!!

generalneyland writes:

I have fallen in love with shannon bobbitt

txsvol#372416 writes:

Great victory for the LadyVols! The local news in San Antonio featured the long lines of North Carolina and UCLA fans at the airport to return home early. Glad that won't involve our fans in Tampa tomorrow. What does the Tampa media have to say about our team? Go Lady Vols! Beat Stanford! SAVol

redneckerson writes:

chkrbrd, 27 shots - how many would she have taken if the shoulder was ok?

generalneyland writes:

Congrats, ladies, on having the hearts of champions. Plus, you're all pretty hot.

MrBamSeydu writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

huntined#565710 writes:

If LSU had hit foul shots we are beat.
They shot 19 we shot 7
Fowles played a good game for them, just didn't have any help.. Good to see other Lady Vols show up tonight

vollady writes:

Its been a great year for all of us fans and as I have said before you ladies are very special. Win or lose on Tues. night, you will always be my favorite team. Go Lady Vols and I hope all of you get drafted on Wednesday. I just wish you could all be on the same WNBA team but of course that isn't possible, so just GOOD LUCK to each of your Seniors.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

It is nice not to have any of the UCONN bloggers on this site. Some were very nasty. They got just what they deserve. Go Lady Vols. Beat Stanford.

coach75 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

PureOrange writes:

Candace has a lot of heart. She was in pain, and she could not play her game, but she gave it all she had. She was hammered all night. Syl had one good block (which she would never have gotten if Candace was healthy), but the others she got credit for were clearly fouls.
We need more movement and to be more aggressive on offense.
It was a gutsy game, and the drive down the sideline and the pass by Parker was an amazing play. Hornbuckle did great to put it back in, but I think the unbelievable part of it was Parker shooting down the court so fast and making a perfect pass at the exact moment she had to make it to make it work.
Thanks, Ladies. We look forward to picking up Nr. 8 on Tuesday night.

Titan writes:

Got in from a late night at church in time to see the Lady Vols win. Really excited about the matchup with UConn - maybe we get to shut Geno up now. What? You mean the mighty #1 Huskies with the best player and coach in America (sarcasm) didn't hold up their end of the deal? We're not playing them in the finals? Really? Seriously? Is this Geno's way of getting back at Pat for canceling the game during the regular season? Hope the reporters ask him some tough questions.

utchris writes:

That last play call was a genius move by Pat. Everyone on LSU's team, everyone in the arena, everyone watching across the country knew that Parker was going coast to coast and was going to take the shot. And then as everyone took the bait, the best player in the country dishes the ball. A little April Fools joke, just a couple of days late. Fowles can have the SEC player of the year award, but she can't have the SEC Championship and she can't have a shot at the NCAA Title.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

Pretty much as expected;
Bobbitt only made a couple of bad drives, and hit some big shots.
Anosike hit some big shots as well...
Couldn't believe Hornbuckle and Auguste clanked the FT's. Alexis is usually money.

UT got lots of pieces to work, except for Alexis. Glad to pull this one out.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

Stanford: we are back to the same problems:
-can we stop Appel?? Can Anosike stay out of foul trouble??
-Stanford has MANY shooters, we don't.

Here is my thought: put Alexis on Wiggins, all game. Tell Alexis this: don't worry about your offense, don't go for steals, just stay in her face.

-For Appel, we have to use all our fouls carefully.

What I'm really worried about is OUR offense. With Candace hurt, we are WaY limited. I don't know if we can score point for point.

We can win, but it's goitg to take REALLY good offensive execution: very few jumpers, lots of good sets. Let Wiggins do what she can, but don't let Appel beat us.

bobo_the_vol writes:

My roommate jumped when I yelled "YES!!" when Alexis put that shot in .. wow what a game. Good thing LSU couldn't hit the broad side of a barn .. but then again, they ARE LSU. Thing I love to death about Pat and her ladies are that they ALWAYS find ways to win ..

I had to tell a UConn fan who is an associate of mine (I would call them a friend save for their Huskie fetish ..) "Players don't go to Tennessee because of the history. They go to make their own."

Looks like those girls are making their own history .. again.

LadyVolsEighTimes writes:

ESPN reported that they have extended an offer to Geno and Maya to watch the Championship game from one of their Broadcast Trailers!

Gonna let them put their AP Trophies right up on the console for them to stare at as well.

tenn32rebel writes:

UT 65 Stanford 60, Pat wins #8 in '08!!! Wiggins still gets MVP because she scored 25 again! Oh well, we get the crystal ball, again!

GO LADY VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wjackson#226202 writes:

Funny! Coach75. I was thinking the same. And as for Geno in the ESPN trailer. That's great! Just what he deserves. Sittin in a doublewide watchin the Lady Vols on the Court!!!

bmaples writes:

An absolute grind of a game. Very, very physical. A great win.

The ESPN announcers said something interesting -- that when Candace came into the league a few years ago, the only knock against her was that she was soft. "She's not soft now, that's for sure," said one announcer. "She's tough as nails."

Candace, I've watched you play all these years at Tennessee, and that may have been the most impressive game I've seen you play. You were obviously in pain, but you didn't complain, kept playing hard, and left it all on the court even when it hurt. You are a true star, and a role model. No matter what happens Tuesday -- thank you for your dedication. You are a true credit to the Lady Vol legacy.

Bruce in Louisville

jackxx#237396 writes:

We should have told her:

"Maya
We can't offer you a tour of ESPN, but if you become a Lady Vol, you will be playing for the National Championship. On the other hand, if you don't come to UT, we will be be playing for the NC anyway."

jackfergs in VA

Go LV!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Where are all the plaid-clad, cabbie cap wearing geeks from Conn-net-tee-cut? Trying to pry their
lips from Geeeeno's butt? Well, geeksters, just reach up and get a handful of Brill Creme and tear mixture.

You should come loose by Saturday.

I have no sympathy, none. Go back to reading the Courant and NYC.

Congrats Pat.

writer#358485 writes:

LSU played one of the most vicious basketball games I have ever seen. Fowles was deliberatly trying to injure Parker with blocking and tackling virtually none of which was called. There were numerous attempts to trip running players--at least they did call the flagrant one when Parker was deliberately tripped, but that should have been a technical. The Lady Vols survived playing basketball against another team that was playing football and wrestling and very nasty versions of both.

I usually don't get upset at hard-played games or referees, but LSU played as nasty as I've ever seen a team play in any sport. I'll never pull for one of their teams again, even if they are the last SEC team standing. And the refs called it 19-7 against us!?!!?!!

It was ridiculous. Most of the calls against us were legit. But flagrant attempts to injure by LSU were not called.

Thanks for hanging in "Lady" Vols against a bunch of thugs that don't deserve to be called by the same term. And Fowles was player of the year!!?? I saw very little basketball skill on her part, but she's probably very good in vicious street brawls!

beachvol1 writes:

Please don't complain about something you have no control over, officiating, as there are going to be games like that...just try to like you said "Hang in there" and keep pluggin'...as far as Flowles goes, looks like a pretty good player to me...24 and 20 aint't bad...let's gear up and take the long sleeves of Candice and let her do her thing....keep pressure on Wiggins all night long and bring home another Championship...GO LADY VOLS...

rogatl2002#222395 writes:

Great win ladies. And my fellow LV fans...why do you keep making nasty remarks about other coaches and players. Have as much class as our amazing Pat Summit.

writer#358485 writes:

Sorry, you're right about the complaining, does no good. Go Vols against Stanford and let's hope it's a real basketball game!

But I sure wouldn't want to meet Fowles alone and unarmed in a dark alley. Hand-to-hand combat was not my forte. Sure you can make points when you knock people around in impunity.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Good to see you back, tngeoff. We have been diagnosed as suffering from severe LOYT.

Lack of you tube. PLS apply the remedy.

b.skelton#207404 writes:

Writer, you are correct, but I will take it further. Fowles fouled all night long but was rarely called. TN, however, was called for a foul for even contesting her shots. And what is up with the foul with 7 seconds to go? #5 was aggressive and ran into us all night long. At worst, a no call on that play. We won't see a game that physical on Tuesday night.

johnlg00 writes:

That might have been about the ugliest basketball game I have ever seen, but, as some wise ones have said, I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss every time! It would have been easy to lose this one in any one of several ways, but the gals had just enough to pull it out. No question, Candace is my all-time "she-ro"; I won't bore you with all the words I could crank out in her honor. They wouldn't do her justice anyway. I just hope, first, that she has just one more such effort in her and, second, that she gets a little more help Tuesday. I don't see how we can beat Stanford if Alexis only gets two points. Angie, Alex, Vicki, NO MORE HIDING! You were recruited as super-stars--SHOW US WHY!!! THIS IS YOUR TIME!!! However it goes, thanks, Pat; thanks, seniors. It's been a great year; let's keep it going just one more night!

volboy81#211803 writes:

way to go girls!!! What a game! lets get some revenge for the OT loss to Stanford in December & get Title #8!!!

GO LADY VOLS!!!!!!!!!!

volboy81#211803 writes:

HEY UCONN....YOU CONN'T!

AS NELSON WOULD SAY "HA! HA!!"

ODA751 writes:

I have to agree with beachvol1. Both teams were playing physical. I looked at it as both teams wanted it real bad. My hat's off to LSU. They played a tough game. The Lady Vols gutted it out. Good tough win.

RockyTop1_old writes:

Great Gut check win against LoSeU!!

SFOrange writes:

Stanford-UConn game was a 360 from UT-LSU. Fast, acurate, high-scoring. UT's grind out with LSU was gruesome on many levels--in the end, the guts (and never-say-die attitude) of this program showed. Now, UT will have to adjust to a group of sharp shooters to win the title. Think Pat will have them ready? Gut says so. Go Vols.

janchattn#610676 writes:

It was a VERY physical game and Candace got thrown around several times, even ESPN replayed several of those episodes. You could see she was not at 100% because most of those 6-for-27 shots she attempted would have gone in any other time. I've said it before, Candace is a warrior and it showed last night. I hope she feels more comfortable in the brace by Tuesday night and I would really love to pay Stanford back for that loss earlier and win #8 while we're at it. Go Lady Vols! Keep playing like the Champions you are!!!

kcabutti writes:

The championship game should be a good one. Candice Wiggins has scored 40 points in two games this tournament. She is not only the Wade trophy winner, but won the Lowes Senior Class award. Don't forget that Stanford has knocked off two number one seeds to get where they are. How many top seeded teams did Lady Vols play? Maybe there should be an investigation into this?
GO STANFORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thegoat0248 writes:

I remember the last time Candace got robbed of an award... She won a SEC championship!! This time she was robbed of the Wade trophy so lets hope she's pissed and can lead us to a National Championship!!!

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