Courtney Vandersloot is having a tremendous season. Her play has turned the Chicago Sky season around.
Courtney Vandersloot has done something only 20 other players in the history of the WNBA have done before. She has passed the 1,000 assist mark for her career. She did it in style, helping the Chicago Sky to another unexpected win over the Los Angeles Sparks.
Her 14 assists were a big reason for the Sky being able to defeat the defending Champs. This was also a career high, beating the 13 she set in the win over the Minnesota Lynx earlier in July.
Vandersloot is showing she is a big time player. In the past seven games she has had four with double digit assists, two with nine assists as well.
Currently, Vandersloot is leading the WNBA in assists per game this season. Her 7.3 per game is beating Sue Bird by 0.4 who is second. Her 102 total assists on the season in fourth behind Bird (124 in 18 games), Skylar Diggins-Smith (127 in 22 games) and Layshia Clarendon (137 in 20 games). Here’s the thing, Vandersloot missed the start of the season and has accumulated this number in just 14 games.
For her career, Vandersloot started the season in 28th all-time with 908 assists. So far she has passed names such as Delisha Milton-Jones, Tamecka Dixon, Nikki Teasley and even Alana Beard in her move up to 21st.
She is certainly not done yet. At her current rate, expect Vandersloot to move close to the top 15 by the end of the season. She will pass champions like Sheryl Swoopes, Penny Taylor and possibly Katie Douglas.
Vandersloot also started the season in sixth all-time for assists per game with 4.96 for her career. She has moved up to fourth all-time with 5.13 per game. The two players she has gone past are Lindsay Whalen and Dawn Staley.
The three players above her on the all time assists per game list? Teresa Witherspoon in third, Bird in second and Ticha Penicheiro in first. This is pretty good company to keep.
Penicheiro is leading the all-time list with 5.72 per game. If Vandersloot continues on like this, she will lead the WNBA in assists per game by the end of next season.
The best thing for me is Vandersloot appears to have the full support of first year head coach Amber Stocks. Cappie Pondexter came back from the concussion protocol against the Los Angeles Sparks. Even though Pondexter is equal sixth all-time in total assists, fourth all-time in total points, Stocks went with Vandersloot in the starting line-up.
Pondexter played only 11 minutes and scored eight points in the surprise win over the Sparks.
What Vandersloot is doing is simply making her teammates better. She is finding them in open spots where they are comfortable shooting. She is also giving them the confidence to shoot the ball. If the Sky keep playing like this, there is a good chance they make the Playoffs. This did not seem possible even three weeks ago when they were beaten by the previously win-less San Antonio Stars.
This has to be exciting for the Sky, considering they have the number two draft pick from the 2017 draft who has not played a game yet through injury as well as tremendous upside in bench players like Imani Boyette and Kahleah Copper. If Pondexter settles into a bench role the Sky may shape the future of a number of teams this season.
It appears with the rise of Vandersloot the Sky may have settled on their starting five. Tamera Young is a defensive specialist who has worked tremendously on her offense. Jessica Breland and Stefanie Dolson round out a very impressive front-court. Vandersloot pairing up with Allie Quigley in the back-court is becomming unstoppable with Quigley showing just how great a talent she is with multiple 20 point plus games.
The outlook for the Sky is looking up.