Lady Vol freshman guard to start first game Sunday

Freshman guard Alexis Hornbuckle will start her first game of the season against DePaul, coach Pat Summitt said Wednesday in her weekly teleconference with the media. <p> Hornbuckle will replace senior Loree Moore, who is scheduled for a tonsillectomy Friday. <p> "She wants to take the reins of our team," Summitt said. "I like her attitude."

No. 9-ranked Tennessee faces No. 15-ranked DePaul on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena at 3 p.m. DePaul is also without its senior guard for the game as Charlene Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury Monday against Loyola-Chicago.

Moore is expected to miss up to a month while recovering from surgery. She has had sinus and throat problems this season, and Summitt said Wednesday that Moore's medical condition has affected her level of energy and has disrupted her sleep.

"She hasn't felt like herself," said Summitt, who agreed it was the best course of action "to get this taken care of."

"She'll feel better ... and she'll be back and ready to go," Summitt said.

Hornbuckle has been backing up Moore at the point this season because fellow freshman Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood has been out with patellar tendonitis. Wiley-Gatewood will undergo her first full-scale practice Friday. She has participated on a very limited basis since Saturday.

As far as the depth chart at the point, Summitt said it will be "somewhat by committee."

Junior Shanna Zolman and senior Brittany Jackson will be the first options, Summitt said. They both played the position last season after Moore went down in January with a knee injury.

"Obviously we're waiting to assess Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood," said Summitt, who has described the freshman as a "natural point guard."

In the meantime, Summitt has no qualms about entrusting the position to Hornbuckle.

"I feel a real good connection with her as far as being able to coach her," Summitt said.

Hornbuckle has been a vocal presence in practice lately and doesn't hesitate to ask questions of Summitt and the coaching staff.

"I really like her attitude and communication," Summitt said.

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