Lady Vol seniors lead way against Ole Miss

Tennessee freshman Lindsey Moss had surgery Friday to fix her broken nose, and freshman Candace Parker stayed out of practice to rest her sore hip. Moss is definitely out for Sunday's game, but Parker's status is listed as day to day.

Guard Lindsey Moss broke her nose for the second time this season in last Sunday's game against Alabama, and this fracture was displaced and required surgery. Both breaks occurred when an opposing player's shoulder collided with her nose.

"Lindsey did great. She's a trouper," said Jenny Moshak, assistant athletics director for sports medicine. "She has a new nose now."

Moss will wear a surgical splint until Thursday when she sees the doctor for a follow-up appointment. She might be permitted to undergo a cardio workout Sunday – though she will not play against Arkansas – and if she feels OK she might be able to practice Monday, according to Moshak.

Forward Candace Parker is enduring some hip pain – she was noticeably uncomfortable in Thursday's 78-63 win over Ole Miss in Oxford – so she was held out of practice Friday and instead got treatment on the sideline.

"She's got a real tight hip flexor," Moshak said. "It's the same leg as her surgical leg (from a left knee operation). Everything's connected. It wasn't a specific injury. She was tight at shoot-around yesterday, and it just kept getting tighter."

The protocol for such a condition is "stretch, ice, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch," Moshak said.

Her status for Sunday will be evaluated later.

"We'll see," Moshak said. "If she's not 100 percent explosive for Pat, that's Pat's decision and Candace's. She wasn't as functional as she needed to be for this type of practice so we held her out."

Coach Pat Summitt said her position was that Parker would rest if she wasn't ready.

"I told Jenny I want 100 percent because last night she wasn't 100 percent, and I think it's important for us to have her when she can play hard at both ends," Summitt said. "We've just got to get her well. I don't want this thing to be nagging her and bothering her for another two weeks."

The other player banged up Thursday was sophomore guard Alexis Hornbuckle, who left the game in the first half with an ankle injury but later returned.

"A little twist of the (left) ankle but her brace saved her so I just taped her in addition to her brace so now she has both on," Moshak said.

Eight Lady Vols practiced Friday in an assortment of drills and full-court work on offense and defense. The team was flat in the first half against Ole Miss but came out in the second half and played inspired basketball. Summitt and her players hope this means the team has finally turned the corner.

The second half charge - both on the scoreboard (Tennessee scored 52 second-half points) and in the players' mental approach to the game – was led by seniors Shanna Zolman and Tye'sha Fluker. Zolman had 18 points, and Fluker finished with 12 on 5-8 shooting with aggressive moves to the basket.

"The last three games we've had the personality of a rock – the whole team – and last night in the second half we had the personality of a Tennessee team, which was great to see," Summitt said. "We had that against Stanford. We had that in the Virgin Islands. I don't know why all of a sudden we decide we're not going to play the game with great enthusiasm; we're not going to get excited for each other. But it happened. Maybe it's the tough schedule we had, we've been on the road a lot, maybe they hit the wall. It's time to bounce back, and they did it in the second half. That was one of the most-encouraging things I've ever seen all year. (Shanna) had a lot to do with it; Tye had a lot to do with it. They took over."

Zolman said she and Fluker got the message at halftime from Summitt and changed their approach on the floor.

"In a very kind-mannered way she said she can't figure us out," Zolman said with a smile. "She's tired of coaching effort. That's what's going to be the ruin of coach Summitt is that she has to coach effort. In a way she just said she's tired of coaching us this way. That's when we needed to take pride and ownership. After she got on me we got back on the floor – show the emotion, be the emotional energizer for this team. That's what I focused on doing. It goes full circle. If you give, you get. That's something I'm focusing on from here on out. Just be the energizer, be the coach and the mind on the floor but then also get hyped when someone is doing something good. That's what our team needs right now."

"I think we did a good job of getting into every single play, every possession, just showing emotion," Fluker said. "We did a good job of getting everyone in the moment."

The Lady Vols will return to the practice floor Saturday morning to continue game preparation for Arkansas. Tipoff is 3 p.m. Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

TENNESSEE WAY: A lot is said about the Tennessee way to play basketball, and that includes no showmanship at the conclusion of a game. In the final seconds of the Ole Miss game, Hornbuckle stole the ball and raced down the court to score a layup – Summitt said she thought the basket should have been waved off because Hornbuckle didn't release the ball in time – and then dropped to the floor and did two pushups.

On occasion a player has done pushups to atone for a mistake, but in this case Summitt interpreted the gesture as "bringing attention to herself." So on Friday, Hornbuckle composed an apology by letter that will be sent to Ole Miss coach Carol Ross.

Hornbuckle had 14 points, four assists, three steals and two blocks in the win, but she also struggled with foul trouble and running the offense at times.

"She did some good things," Summitt said. "She played careless at times but did some good things as well. She has to understand the role that she plays for our team. Quite honestly last night Shanna was a better point guard in running our offense but Alexis we need her because she brings a better transition attack, she's one of our better rebounders. But she has to be very focused on running this team."

CALL CONFUSION: In the second half an official's confusion ended with Ross getting a technical foul. Tennessee forward Alex Fuller was in position for an offensive rebound when Ole Miss' Shawn Goff appeared to go over her back.

Official Wesley Dean headed to the scorer's table to record the foul and also started walking to the other end, leading both coaches to believe that the foul was called on Tennessee. But he indicated No. 35 at the table, which would clearly mean the Ole Miss player since Tennessee doesn't have a player with that number.

"He just got confused. He made the call, but he started to the other end," Summitt said. "So I'm thinking how did Alex foul her? I was confused because they're going the other way. And he said, ‘I've got it.' He had the right call, but he got confused at which basket we were shooting at. I thought he's too good an official not to see what happened."

Ross didn't like the call – she had been frustrated earlier already – and made her opinion known. She then got a technical foul. Tennessee made four straight free throws.


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