KNOXVILLE – Tying a program-record 15 blocks in a game and overcoming an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit, the No. 16/12 Tennessee women’s basketball team took down No. 12/21 Texas, 74-70, in overtime in front of a raucous crowd of 9,460 on Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Key, a 6-foot-6 center, posted the fifth triple-double in program history, scoring 10 points and adding 18 rebounds and 10 blocks in 39 minutes of play. Her rebound total breezed past her previous career high of 12 and she matched her best for blocks, tying for the second-highest tally in UT annals. Key now has two triple-doubles and is the only player in Tennessee’s illustrious history with more than one. She posted her first last season vs. Florida (23 pts., 10 rebs., 10 blks.) on Jan. 31, 2021.
Horston was masterful on the offensive end for the second consecutive game, posting another banner day. The 6-2 guard led all Lady Vol scorers with 28 points, a career high. She also pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds en route to her second double-double of the season and third of her career. Horston is averaging 22 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per contest thus far. After missing the first contest due to injury, Horston has led Tennessee in scoring in the last three outings.
Graduate Alexus Dye came through in the clutch, sinking critical free throws late in the contest and securing 13 points. The 6-0 forward swatted away four shots, a career-best in blocks. Graduate guard Jordan Walker also added 13 points and a team-leading five assists.
Head coach Kellie Harper earned her seventh top-25 win as Tennessee’s head coach, including six the past two seasons. It is the Lady Vols’ second-straight win over a ranked opponent, as they took care of No. 23/22 USF, 52-49, on Nov. 15.
The first quarter was marked by both sides going on long scoring runs. Texas jumped out to a 6-1 lead early in the game, but the Lady Vols battled back, taking a 6-0 run from the 7:44 mark to 3:42. Texas’ offense was stifled during that period, shooting 0-for-8 from the field. The Longhorns offense wouldn’t stay quiet, though, as it rattled off six more points to jump ahead 12-7. Walker caught fire in the last 71 seconds of the period, sinking back-to-back-to-back jumpers, including the first 3-pointer the Lady Vols attempted during the game.
The second half saw back-and-forth scoring efforts. Horston led Tennessee offensively, totaling 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the period. She added three rebounds to match Key. The Lady Vols did some damage in the paint during the first half, outscoring the Horns 16-10. Tennessee went into the locker room leading, 29-28, after the first two quarters.
Texas came out white-hot to start the third quarter, sinking 5-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. The Longhorns limited Tennessee to 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) shooting and won the quarter, 21-10, leading by as many as 12 with 2:48 remaining in the period before the Lady Vols whittled it to 10 before the quarter ended.
The Big Orange trailed by 10 to open the fourth and was behind by as many as 11 in the stanza. The offense finally kicked into gear, though, going on a 12-2 run in the last 6:26 of the game. Tennessee collected seven points from the charity stripe, and Alexus Dye laid in the game-tying basket with 21 seconds left in the contest to send the battle of UTs into overtime.
The extra frame saw a dominant Tennessee performance on the glass, out-rebounding Texas 7-3 in the final five minutes and moving ahead by five, 66-61, at the 3:26 mark. The Lady Vols were 6-of-8 from the free throw line and 4-of-7 from the floor, as they registered 15 points in the period built their advantage back to six with 18 seconds to go when Horston hit a pair of charity attempts to make it 74-68 before eventually winning by four. Horston capped an incredible performance with seven points and her third assist of the game during the quarter.
Tennessee hits the road for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will face two more Big 12 foes in Kansas on Nov. 26 and Oklahoma State on Nov. 27. Tip-off against Kansas on Friday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.
DEFENSIVE PROWESS: Tennessee has held each of its opponent this season under 40 percent shooting, including three under 32 percent. Under Harper, the Lady Vols have only allowed 16 teams to shoot better than 40 percent in the 60 games under her coaching.
DOING THAT BOARD WORK: UT out-rebounded Texas by 15, 56-41, claiming an advantage in its fourth straight game this season. It was the third by double digits. During the Kellie Harper era, Tennessee has won the battle of the boards in 50 of 60 contests.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE: The Lady Vols have registered at least one double-double in each game this season (Horston – 2, Key – 2 (1 a triple-double), Dye – 1).
NEVER GIVE UP: Tennessee has staged a fourth quarter comeback in three of its games this season. The 12-point third-quarter deficit was the largest the Lady Vols have erased in a win since a 13-point gap against Missouri on Mar. 5, 2020, at the SEC Tournament.
OUR TIME, OVERTIME: Harper earned her first win in overtime as the Lady Vols’ head coach. It was also the first overtime game in Thompson-Boling Arena since Feb. 23, 2012, when Tennessee bested Middle Tennessee, 88-81. The Lady Volunteers improved to 33-21 in overtime games in program history.