WOMENS BASKETBALL

How Tennessee Lady Vols sophomore Jordan Horston worked to get stronger during offseason

Will Backus
Knoxville News Sentinel

Jordan Horston had one goal during her freshman year with the Tennessee women's basketball team.

It wasn't to lead the Lady Vols in scoring or assists, or to become an All-SEC or even All-American performer.  

All she ever talked about when he arrived in Knoxville was how she wanted the "biggest muscles" out of any other player on the team. 

Just over a year later and that goal has been realized. Lady Vols coach Kellie Harper noticed the difference as soon as Horston stepped on the court last month — she had completely transformed her body during the offseason.

"She looks amazing right now," Harper said. "She looks the part. She walks out on the court and she's bigger and stronger than everybody." 

The sophomore guard said that she followed the home workout plan of Tyler Watson, who serves as director of women's basketball sports performance, to stay in shape while the team quarantined from March to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic

She's worked closely with Watson since returning to campus.

"I wouldn't say that I'm the strongest person on the team," Horston said. "I've just been eating right, training my body, working out. I'm going to continue to keep doing that to try and get stronger." 

Harper said that she hopes Horston can turn that strength into a more aggressive approach on the court. At 6-foot-2, she could benefit by spending more time slashing into the paint. 

Horston hasn't noticed a difference in the way that she approaches the basket, but the coaches say that she's doing a better job positioning herself and finishing through contact. 

"She's knocking down shots, she's getting to the basket," Harper said. "Her strength and size right now could allow her to play more powerfully this season."

Horston, who was the second freshman in the last three years to start at point guard for Tennessee, had an up-and-down first year. She quickly established herself as an impact player, scoring in double digits in her first two career starts against Central Arkansas and Notre Dame. 

However, Horston had a problem with turnovers. Her struggles with giving the ball away led to her demotion to a reserve player for the final eight games, though she still averaged over 20 minutes per game. 

She led the Lady Vols in assists (4.8) and steals (1.2) per game while ranking third in scoring (9.8 points) and rebounds per game (5.5) and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. 

Expectations are high for her second season as she returns as Tennessee's most experienced point guard. She at least looks the part. 

"I'm just slowing down and playing my game, letting the game come to me," Horston said. "Overall, I think (last season) was an experience that helped me with everything."