Summitt picks starters for Sunday's Lady Vols game

Coach Pat Summitt has settled on a starting lineup Sunday when the Lady Vols open the 2004-05 season with an exhibition game against Carson-Newman. <p> She also has decided who the first three players off the bench will be. That accounts for eight players, in keeping with Summitt's pre-season statement that she would like to settle into an eight or nine-player rotation.

The three starters on the perimeter will be Loree Moore, Shanna Zolman and Shyra Ely, Summitt said after practice Friday. Sidney Spencer and Tye'sha Fluker will start in the post, she said. It's an experienced lineup with two seniors in Moore and Ely, two juniors in Fluker and Zolman and one sophomore in Spencer.

The first three players off the bench, Summitt said, will be senior Brittany Jackson backing up Zolman on the wing; freshman Alexis Hornbuckle for Moore at the point; and freshman Nicky Anosike for Fluker at center. "And then you can rotate the other people," Summitt said.

A large portion of Friday afternoon's practice was devoted to specific situations, such as offensive options, defensive schemes and getting the basketball in-bounds.

"We're just really trying to get them in a position where they can focus on execution in the half-court game," Summitt said.

She was not as pleased with the defensive effort Friday as she was after the Thursday evening's practice.

"Obviously our defense today was not as strong as it was last night. I thought they really had a great practice last night," Summitt said. "I was bothered a little bit today, but sometimes you just have to work on the little things."

Summitt has made it clear throughout the preseason that practice is the time to determine who competes and subsequently who starts and plays. At Friday's practice she crouched down near the sideline during defensive drills and reminded players she was looking for competitors.

"Right now I think we have probably seven players who really know what to do and make good decisions most of the time," Summitt said. "Obviously we have 10 (scholarship) players who are going to be in uniform."

Assistant coach Holly Warlick said the team was ready to play Sunday against an opponent other than each other and the male practice players.

"I think our offense is coming together," Warlick said. "I've seen major improvement this past week. I'm anxious to see them play against somebody different."

Warlick specifically cited Jackson's consistency in practice and the post players' improvement at sealing off a defender inside the paint so as to be in better position to receive an entry pass. She also noted Hornbuckle's overall play.

"She's a hard worker in practice, but when the game starts, she just plays," Warlick said. "That's just basketball instinct. You can't teach a lot of those things. That's what I like about Alexis."

ODDS AND ENDS: Legendary coach Billie Moore is in town to visit longtime friend Pat Summitt and will be at Sunday's 4 p.m. exhibition game at Thompson-Boling Arena. Moore was the head coach of the U.S. Olympic team in 1976, when Summitt was a player. The former Cal State-Fullerton and UCLA coach was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in the inaugural class with Summitt in 1999. Earlier this week, Moore was helping Summitt's son Tyler, 14, with his head fake and drive to the basket. Tyler is on the eighth-grade team at Webb School. Moore also intends to visit former Lady Vol assistant coach Mickie DeMoss, who is now the head coach at Kentucky. … The Tennessee men's team played an exhibition game Friday night against Tusculum College. The women's team observed the Lady Vols' practice Friday. …. The 2004-05 Lady Vols media guide is out. It's 300 pages. The cover theme is "Big Game Hunters" and shows the players decked out in safari gear and straw hats and holding machetes. The coaches are wearing the same attire on the back cover. Summitt is holding binoculars. The assistants are carrying the machetes and spears.


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