Courtney Vandersloot was instrumental to the Chicago Sky pulling off the incredible and winning the 2021 WNBA championship, and the veteran guard has been balling out for years at this point.
Let’s take a look at her full career and see how she arrived to this point. This is Courtney Vandersloot’s player profile.
Courtney Vandersloot Player Profile
Courtney Vandersloot was born in Kent, Washington. As a kid, she played multiple sports and was always competitive, and in 2011, she credited her basketball ability to how she grew up.
“I always credit it to I always played with boys growing up,” Vandersloot told Dave Trimmer of The Spokesman-Review. “I grew up in one of the coolest neighborhoods, because we had so many kids right around my age, and all we did was play sports, all sports.
“My dad put in a sport court behind the house,” she added. “I probably played there twice, and it was the sweetest court. But if I went back there, nobody could see me, so I’d go out in the front, where our neighbor put up a regular hoop, and they would see me and come out and play. I would always be the first one out there, and I wanted to play so bad with the boys.”
Vandersloot played at Kentwood High School, where she developed into one of the best players in the state, in large part thanks to her high school coach, Keith Hennig, who would sometimes play one-on-one against the high schooler before or after practice with his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame.
“I did not take it easy on her at all,” Hennig told Meri-Jo Borzilleri of espnW.com in 2011. “At times, I wasn’t too nice. I would ride her and foul her. I’d put my hands in her face, and she would whine and complain about fouls. I’d say, ‘There’s no fouls out here.'”
Her growth as a player helped lead Kentwood to the state tournament her junior and senior years, and she was named a MaxPreps Honorable Mention All-American in 2007. She committed to Gonzaga after her senior season.
Vandersloot Sets Standard with Zags
She was already etching her name in the record books as a freshman at Gonzaga. Courtney Vandersloot finished the campaign with 191 assists, which was the third-best total in program history at the time, and was named WCC Newcomer of the Year in 2008. She proceeded to break the school record for assists the following three seasons. Vandersloot was named the WCC Player of the Year in her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons and was also a three-time WCC Tournament MVP.
Even with all the accolades, it was her senior year where she put an exclamation point to an already outstanding career. Vandersloot had a career-high in points per game at 19 and dished just more than 10 assists per game to complete the double-double average. She won the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard in 2011 and became the first NCAA player, men’s or women’s, to finish a career with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists. Her 1,118 assists are the most in NCAA history, men’s or women’s.
“I don’t want to dramatize it too much, but she’s like (Wayne) Gretzky in hockey,” former Gonzaga star and NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton said of Vandersloot in 2011. “There is something that separates Courtney from the others.”
Her play helped Gonzaga’s program reach previously-unknown heights. In 2009 when she was a sophomore, she was part of the team’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 74-59 win over No. 5 seed Xavier in the first round. Then in 2010, her Zags reached the Sweet 16 for the first time as a No. 7 seed then, and Vandersloot was important in the Bulldogs getting all the way to the Elite Eight in 2011 as a No. 11 seed when she was a senior. Gonzaga also won the WCC Tournament three times (2009-11) and the conference regular season title four times (2008-12) during her tenure.
The Pros Come Calling
After her illustrious career at Gonzaga, Vandersloot was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky. Since entering the league, she has been one of the best point guards in the W.
Vandersloot has been in the top 11 in assists per game in every year of her WNBA career. In 2019, she became the league’s first player to average more than nine assists per game, then she upped that to 10 in 2020. She’s already fourth all-time in WNBA history for dimes.
In 2021, Courtney Vandersloot played a huge role in the Sky’s unbelievable run to the WNBA title. Not only was it the first time the Sky had climbed the mountaintop, it was also the first time a team seeded worse than two won the league’s crown since the playoff format changed to give the top-two seeds byes to the semifinals in 2016.
She was massive all postseason long, setting multiple records along the way. Vandersloot posted double-digit assists in every games of the 2021 WNBA Finals, including 15 in the series-clinching contest.
Oh, and she had this clutch shot to seal the title for the Sky.
At 32, Courtney Vandersloot finally added the one missing piece to her already-historic resume. If she keeps playing at this great pace, she might end up passing another Seattle legend as the greatest point guard in league history.