Jordan Horston had so many statistics to relish, so many.
The Tennessee guard scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 65-51 women’s basketball victory at Vanderbilt Thursday night, recording her eighth double-double of the season and third in a row. She also dished out five assists and had four blocks, three more than 6-foot-6 teammate Tamari Key, who most nights blocks everything but the moon and stars.
Mickey Dearstone, the Lady Vols’ radio voice, named Horston the star of the game.
To begin their postgame interview, Dearstone regaled his guest with her accomplishments. As if there wasn’t enough to talk about, Horston wedged another stat into their conversation: her three turnovers.
I’ve heard her do that before with Dearstone. I could relate because I had done something similar with far greater regularity.
For much of her first two seasons, I fixated on Horston’s turnovers. The epiphany finally came during a Nov. 21 game against Texas this season. Horston committed eight turnovers that afternoon. I don’t remember any of them.
I do vividly recall her hitting a 3-pointer with Tennessee nursing a one-point lead in overtime. She scored seven points during the extra session. She had eight points in the fourth quarter, including two baskets inside the final two minutes, to help Tennessee erase an 11-point deficit.
In the end, Horston had 28 points and 15 rebounds. The Lady Vols, in turn, had a 74-70 victory that helped set the tone for the season.
Texas coach Vic Schaefer paid Horston the ultimate compliment for a competitor.
“She was special down the stretch, and I think she’s not scared,” Schaefer said. “She wants the ball in that situation and I think that’s what makes her special. You have to love a kid that wants to be in that moment.”
While Thursday’s moments weren’t as dramatic, they still evidenced Horston’s importance to UT.
Along with her courage, Horston also stands out for being 6-foot-2. Her combination of size and athleticism boosts her defense and rebounding. Against Vanderbilt, whenever she wasn’t on the court, the Commodores’ aggressive defense caused problems for Tennessee’s smaller guards.
“She’s doing a little bit of everything,” Harper said. “I thought she had her hands full tonight because we were asking her to rebound, we were asking her to handle the ball, score, defend.
“When Jordan was on the court, I think her teammates were just a little bit more confident. I think that’s what she brings when she steps out on the court. She’s playing with competitiveness, and she’s playing with great confidence as well. When she’s aggressive, you’re seeing her best.”
Harper probably meant that when Horston is aggressive, you’re seeing her best play. But she could’ve been speaking to someone like myself, who was prone to being myopic about Horston’s game.
Take a good look. There’s a lot to see.
Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri, who covered University of Tennessee athletics from 1988-2019. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.