So, I picked PG Courtney Vandersloot for the WNBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award last season. Can I do it again this summer?
After leading the Sky to is first playoff appearance in the franchise’s nine-year history last year, Vandersloot has returned even stronger. She recorded a career-high 13 assists in Chicago’s 101-82 win against Connecticut on Friday.
“I have so many options out there,” Vandersloot said of setting the mark, which is also a franchise-record for assists in a single game.
Vandersloot (Kentwood HS) achieved the feat in 26 minutes, going scoreless but adding two blocks with only one turnover in the game. She left with an apparent right ankle injury in the third quarter, however.
Vandersloot was attempting to defend an offensive rebound play by Sun rookie Chiney Ogwumike. It appeared the latter inadvertently stepped on Vandersloot’s foot as the players tumbled out-of-bounds with 5:02 remaining in the quarter. Vandersloot was slow to rise and eventually carried off the court by F Elena Delle Donne and reserve Sky F Tamera Young.
But Vandersloot returned to the game in the fourth quarter. She left for good with the Sky up 91-73 with 4:20 remaining in the matchup.
The game was Vandersloot’s third straight finishing in double-digit figures for assists. She’s the Sky’s all-time leader in the category with 552 career assists, surpassing former Chicago PG Dominique Canty (462) last year.
Yeah, Vandersloot has Delle Donne, who’s quickly becoming the second-coming of Lauren Jackson. But Vandersloot isn’t just lobbing the ball inside to Delle Donne for the 6-foot-5 All-Star to catch and shoot for a team-leading average of 23 points on 42.2 percent shooting from the field.
“The Sky attacked,” said Connecticut coach Anne Donovan after the loss on Friday. “They served it off the dribble. They were trying hard to get mismatches and for the most part I think we handled that but dribble penetration was a problem all night.”
Chicago (5-1) leads the Eastern Conference standings. Its next game is Friday against Los Angeles (2-1) at 5:30pm PT on the WNBA.com’s LiveAccess.