Dan Fleser: Lady Vol Jordan Horston Takes Big Step Forward

Thursday, November 7, 2019 - by Dan Fleser

By Dan Fleser

KNOXVILLE – Tennessee’s Jordan Horston took a step forward Thursday night. There was no debating the favorable review of the freshman guard’s play.

The only difference of opinion involved the pace of her progress.        

“I feel like I slowed down a little bit and played my game,” she said.

Conversely, Central Arkansas coach Shandra Rushing saw a lot of pep in Horston’s step.

“We couldn’t keep up and we were sending two (players) back,” Rushing said. “A tremendous player. She’s fun to watch now.”

Horston scored 17 points, on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor, and dished out three assists in Tennessee’s 63-36 women’s basketball victory before an announced crowd of 7,278 at Thompson-Boling Arena. She committed zero turnovers as well. Her stat line amounted to a vast improvement over the season opener at East Tennessee State on Tuesday, when she scored six points and trumped six assists with seven turnovers.

Horston and fellow freshman Tamari Key put together an encouraging preview for the next four seasons, combining to score Tennessee’s first 14 points. Their collaboration came not long after finding out they were starting.

“Those two are really talented,” UT coach Kellie Harper said. “You can see the dynamic play Jordan had and the fundamentals Tamari has. This was a good step for them.”

The Lady Vols (2-0) also made strides on defense, allowing just 18 points during the final three quarters after surrendering 18 in the first 10 minutes. The Sugar Bears (0-1) suffered through a scoring drought of more than 11 minutes spanning the second and third quarters.

“We got after it at halftime,” Harper said. “I told them they weren’t giving us what we wanted defensively. I thought Central Arkansas was a little too comfortable. We changed that in the second half.”

In the process, Harper thought the Lady Vols were better in transition and upgraded their defensive awareness off the ball compared to Tuesday’s 72-68 season-opening victory, when they withstood 41 points by Bucs guard Erica Haynes-Overton and were outscored 18-11 in the final quarter.

“We handled the game a little better tonight,” Harper.

On the other hand, Tennessee’s rebounding dominance didn’t carry over from Tuesday. Smaller Central Arkansas considered tipping the ball out of bounds to be a worthwhile strategy against the taller, more physical Lady Vols. But that wasn’t necessary, as evidenced by UT’s meager 41-36 advantage.

“That’s such a big number for me,” Harper said. “I don’t want to just win. I want to dominate the boards.”

Tennessee also didn’t get as much from returnees Rennia Davis and Zaay Green, who combined for just 13 points after having 30 collectively on Tuesday.

“I think we’re going to continue to get better,” Harper said. “I think the players understand that we’re working for small increments every day.”

The work will be more challenging in their next game when the Lady Vols play at No. 16 Notre Dame (1-0) on Monday. The Fighting Irish, who lost all five starters from last season’s national finalist team, opened with a 60-55 win at Fordham on Tuesday.

“This will not be our first road trip; that’s big deal,” said Harper, alluding to the crowd of 5,881 at ETSU. “I fully expect it to be loud and tough but I think we have a little bit of that under our belt.”

In other news:

-Forward Jaiden McCoy, who started Tuesday, is out indefinitely with a left-hand injury.       

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He may be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com

SEC Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

SOCON Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

Lee Tennis Teams Earn Gulf South Wins

Southeastern Conference Basketball Standings as of games of: February 17, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: ... (click for more)

Southern Conference Basketball Standings a s of games of: February 15, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: ... (click for more)

The Lee men's tennis team opened Gulf South Conference play with a 7-0 shutout over visiting Christian Brothers University on Sunday from the DeVos Tennis Center. "There's no easy wins in ... (click for more)


SEC Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

Southeastern Conference Basketball Standings as of games of: February 17, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: Kentucky 10-2 20-5 Auburn 9-2 22-2 LSU 9-3 18-7 South Carolina 8-4 ... (click for more)

SOCON Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

Southern Conference Basketball Standings a s of games of: February 15, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: ETSU 12-2 23-4 Furman 12-2 22-5 UNCG 11-3 21-6 Western Carolina 8-6 16-9 ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Chattanooga Man, 31, Killed In Head-On Crash Near Elizabethton; His Vehicle Was Struck By Man Fleeing Police

A Chattanooga man who was hit head-on by a vehicle being chased by police near Elizabethton, Tn., was killed in the crash late Sunday morning. He was identified as Thomas Taylor, 31. He was driving a BMW north on U.S. Highway 19E when his vehicle was struck by a Lincoln Towncar going the wrong way at a high rate of speed. Two other people were injured in the collision at Gap ... (click for more)

Fishermen Spot Body In Ocoee River

Two fishermen spotted a body in the Ocoee River on Sunday. Polk County Sheriff's deputies were then able to retrieve a man's body around noon. It was located about 100 yards west of Big River Access. The body was sent to Knoxville for an autopsy and to seek identification. (click for more)


Celebrate President's Day By Remembering The Wisdom Of Our Founding Fathers - And Response

Monday, Feb. 17, is President’s Day. The holiday was originally designed to honor our first president, George Washington, and was celebrated on his birthday, Feb. 12. In an effort to give the public more leisure time, in 1971, President Richard Nixon officially designated certain federal holidays to be celebrated on Mondays. This included President Washington’s. Since it no longer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Believe In Harbingers?

A harbinger, we have been taught, is “something that foreshadows a future event,” or “something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come.” Last week in Connecticut, the families of three high school athletes – all female – filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The lawsuit claims a current CIAC policy is a violation of the federal ... (click for more)