Courtney Vandersloot, the former Kentwood High School basketball star, will have her Gonzaga University No. 21 jersey retired and hung in the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane during a ceremony prior to a Feb. 11 game.
Vandersloot will become the first women’s player in the program’s history to have her jersey displayed, according to a posting on the Gonzaga women’s basketball website. She will be present for the ceremony before the game 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 becamse the first Gonzaga player in school history to be taken in the first round. At Kentwood, she led the Conquerors to a 28-1 mark her senior season and a third-place finish at state.
At Gonzaga, Vandersloot, the three-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year, was named to the Associated Press All-America Team second-team and State Farm Coaches’ All-America Basketball team, USBWA All-America, named the Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the top point guard in the nation, and was the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award winner.
She capped her Gonzaga career by leading the Zags to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, the West Coast Conference Tournament and regular season titles and a 31-5 record in 2010-11.
Vandersloot led the nation in assists per game in 2009-10 and 2010-11. She broke the NCAA single-season assist record with 367 in her senior season. She is also the first NCAA Division I player, male or female, to amass career totals of 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.
According to the Gonzaga website, in her rookie WNBA season, Vandersloot became the Sky’s regular starter at the point, ultimately starting 26 of the team’s 34 games. Her average of 3.7 assists per game was 11th in the league and second among rookies. She was also named as an Eastern Conference reserve for the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, and was one of the five members of the 2011 All-Rookie Team, gaining 10 of a possible 11 votes from the league’s head coaches.
In 2015, Vandersloot averaged a career-high 5.8 assists per game during the regular season for the Sky, before dishing 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 their 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 double-digit assists in the 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 posted a double-double in nine of 22 games.
In the 2021 season, she helped led the Sky to their first WNBA Championship. In the first round of the playoffs, Vandersloot posted the WNBA’s second triple-double in playoff history against the Connecticut Sun. Her triple-double included a playoff-record 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, which was another team high. The Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury 3-1 in the finals to capture the title.
Free agent this year
Vandersloot, 33, has played 12 seasons with Chicago but is a free agent this year and might sign elsewhere, with the Seattle Storm a possibility.
According to espn.com, Vandersloot has met with the Sky, Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty and Seattle Storm.
Media reports also have indicated that Vandersloot might sign with the same team as Breanna Stewart, the Storm star who reportedly has narrowed her choices to Seattle and the New York Liberty. Stewart and Vandersloot have the same agent.