In case you missed it, Courtney Vandersloot and the Chicago Sky clinched the WNBA Championship on Sunday afternoon in front of a raucous home crowd for Vandersloot and the franchise’s first WNBA title.
Excuse this post coming some 12+ hours after the Sky sealed the deal in a thrilling come-from-behind win, but this writer was celebrating the championship victory for his hometown and a first WNBA or NBA title for a Gonzaga athlete in seven years (Austin Daye was the last in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs).
The WNBA delivered an exciting Finals between the Sky and Phoenix Mercury, with star power overflowing between two teams that featured household names such as Candace Parker, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, Skyler Diggins-Smith, Allie Quigley, and of course Vandersloot who was also named to the WNBA’s All-Second Team earlier in the week.
Vandersloot, who played at Gonzaga from 2007-2011, has her name littered across the pages of Gonzaga’s record books. At a gaudy 1118 career assists, Vandersloot is over 500 assists clear of the next best in Gonzaga’s women’s program (Shannon Mathews, 600 assists) and miles ahead of Josh Perkins who owns the career record on the men’s side with 712. Vandersloot also owns Gonzaga’s record for most career steals (366, ahead of Haiden Palmer’s 286 and John Stockton’s 262) and is second all-time in the women’s program in scoring with 2,073 points (just behind Heather Bowman’s 2,165) which also puts her third at Gonzaga between both the men’s and women’s teams.
Since leaving Gonzaga, Vandersloot hasn’t stopped dropping dimes, with her skills on full display during the Finals where she finished with 50 assists over the four-game series, which set a new WNBA postseason record.
Courtney Vandersloot was huge all postseason in the Sky's championship run:— Across the Timeline (@WBBTimeline) October 17, 2021
- 3rd game in WNBA history with 10+ PTS, 15+ AST, 9+ REB (today) (she also has the other 2)
- 102 assists in the WNBA Playoffs (record)
- 50 assists in the WNBA Finals (record for any postseason series)
To watch Vandersloot run an offense is to watch art in motion. She dazzles with her vision and control, and there are few anywhere in the world who play the position better than she does.
Courtney Vandersloot get's her 10th career playoff game with 10+ assists.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 16, 2021
She passes Sue Bird for the most in postseason history pic.twitter.com/SiHSm6YBHZ
It felt like the former Gonzaga guard set a new WNBA record or dropped an insane highlight reel pass on a daily basis during the course of the Sky’s postseason run, and for someone who has been loyal to her franchise over many highs and lows in the past 11 seasons, it was only fitting that she sealed the championship in crunch time with a masterful bucket in the paint before icing the victory with two clutch free throws on the following possession.
Let’s get this champion’s number retired, Gonzaga.