Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot, a former Kentwood High star, set a WNBA assist record for most in a game with 18 against Indiana on Aug. 31. COURTESY PHOTO, Chicago Sky

Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot, a former Kentwood High star, set a WNBA assist record for most in a game with 18 against Indiana on Aug. 31. COURTESY PHOTO, Chicago Sky

Former Kentwood High star Vandersloot sets WNBA assist record with 18 in a game

‘I absolutely thought this record was untouchable,’ Chicago Sky point guard says

Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot, a former Kentwood High School star, set the WNBA record for most assists in a game with 18 against Indiana on Monday night.

The accomplishment broke the record set by Ticha Penicheiro, who had 16 in a game twice, most recently in 2002. Vandersloot dished out the 18 assists in a 100-77 win over Indiana in Bradenton, Florida, where the league is playing all of its games because of COVID-19.

Vandersloot, 31, a 2007 Kentwood graduate, played for Gonzaga University in Spokane before being drafted third overall in the 2011 WNBA draft by Chicago. At Kentwood, she led the Conquerors to a 27-1 mark her senior season and a third-place finish at state.

On Tuesday, Vandersloot was named as the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month, the first time in her career she has earned the honor.

Vandersloot, a 10-year veteran, averaged 13.6 points, 9.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game during the Sky’s 14 games in August to help Chicago win nine of the games. She has played six straight games with at least nine assists.

“This one feels good, because I absolutely thought this record was untouchable,” Vandersloot said, according to “Shoutout to Ticha for setting this one. She set the bar very high. I don’t think that this one is going to be touched very often. It’s tough to get 16 assists in a game so this one is really special. My teammates were knocking down shots and they were just as happy as I was. It makes it so much more enjoyable for me out there.”

Earlier in August, Vandersloot became the fifth player in WNBA history to reach 1,800 career assists, joining fellow league legends Sue Bird, Penicheiro, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen on that exclusive list.

“I think she’s actually taking the team on her shoulders,” Sky general manager and coach James Wade said. “You see everything that she’s doing as far as helping players improve… It helps our culture; it helps everything.”

Vandersloot, who was selected to the All-WNBA First Team last year for the first time in her career, broke the assist record with a pass to teammate Allie Quiqley, who also is her wife. They married in 2019.

“I just feel like every time I think she’s at her peak she goes to another level,” Quigley said. “I’ve seen it firsthand; she’s always been the hardest worker on the court.”

School donations

With each assist by Vandersloot, she donates $10 to DonorsChoose, which will help provide funding for classroom supplies in Chicago Public Schools. Vandersloot is also auctioning off a pair of game-worn customized shoes as part of her collaboration with the organization.

“It’s not a secret that public school funding is an ongoing problem,” Vandersloot said. “We have teachers all over the country paying millions of dollars out of pocket for supplies in order to provide the proper education to their students. The Chicago Public Schools are no stranger to that. Despite being the third largest district in the nation, the CPS only receives 15% of the state funding.

“It’s not a coincidence that 90% of the CPS students are children of color. I realize the problem will not be solved tomorrow, but I want to be a part of the change today. I am passionate about education and strongly believe that every student, no matter where you’re from or the color of your skin, should have access to quality education. This is why I chose to use my personal success for this season to help bring awareness and funds to teachers and students in Chicago. I am beyond thankful for DonorsChoose who have been doing just that for every public school in America, for years.”

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