Gonzaga women’s basketball honors former Kentwood star Vandersloot

Former Kentwood High School basketball star Courtney Vandersloot is retiring her No. 21 jersey at Gonzaga University and hung out at the McCarthy Sports Center in Spokane during a ceremony before the Feb. 11 game.

Vandersloot will become the first player in program history to display her jersey, according to the Gonzaga women’s basketball website. She will be present at the pre-game party against Portland.

The 5-foot-8 Vandersloot, a 2007 Kentwood graduate, played for Gonzaga before being drafted third overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky. She became the first Gonzaga player in school history taken in the first round. At Kentwood, she led the Conquistadors to a 28-1 mark her senior season and a third-place finish in the state.

At Gonzaga, Vandersloot, a three-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year, was named to the Associated Press All-America second team and State Farm Coaches’ USBWA All-America basketball All-America team, named to Nancy Lieberman Awarded as the best guard in the country, he was the winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award.

She capped her Gonzaga career by leading the Zags to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, West Coast Conference Tournament and regular season titles and a 31-5 record in 2010-11.

Vandersloot led the country in assists per game in 2009-10 and 2010-11. She broke the NCAA single-season record with 367 in her first season. She is also the first NCAA Division I player, male or female, to accumulate 2,000 total points and 1,000 assists.

According to Gonzaga’s website, in her WNBA rookie season, Vandersloot had become Sky’s regular starter at this point, eventually starting 26 of the team’s 34 games. Her average of 3.7 assists per game was 11th in the league and second among juniors. She was also named as a reserve for the Eastern Conferences in the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, was one of the five members of the 2011 All-Rookie Team, receiving 10 out of a possible 11 votes from the league’s coaches.

In 2015, Vandersloot averaged a career-high 5.8 assists per game during the regular season for the Sky, before striking out 8.3 per outing in the playoffs. The Kent native added a career-best 13.7 points per game during the 2015 regular season. She helped guide Chicago to its first playoff appearance in 2013, before reaching the WNBA Finals in 2014.

During the 2020 season, she was the first player in WNBA history to average a double-digit assists season and led the WNBA with 10 assists per game. She also set the WNBA single-game record for most assists in a game with 18 and recorded a double-double in nine of her 22 games.

In the 2021 season, she helped lead the Sky to their first WNBA Championship. In the first round of the playoffs, Vandersloot scored the WNBA’s second triple-double in matchup history against the Connecticut Sun. Her record-breaking triple double included 18 assists, a personal best 10 rebounds and 12 points.

In the Finals, Vandersloot led the team in minutes played with 133 and averaged 11.5 points per game. In the four games, she recorded 50 assists, another team record. Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury 3-1 in the finals to claim the title.

Free agent this year

Vandersloot, 33, played 12 seasons with Chicago but is a free agent this year and may sign elsewhere, with the Seattle Storm as a possibility.

According to espn.com, Vandersloot has met up with Sky, Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty and Seattle Storm.

Media reports also indicated that Vandersloot had signed with the same team as Brianna Stewart, the Storm star who has reportedly narrowed her options to Seattle and New York Liberty. Stewart and Vandersloot have the same dealership.

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