On what was a historic Tuesday night for Courtney Vandersloot, the Chicago Sky scored 39 points in the first quarter en route to a blowout victory over the Minnesota Lynx at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Vandersloot became the quickest player in WNBA history to reach 2,000 assists on a Candace Parker layup with 6:34 left in the third. Only Sue Bird, Ticha Penicheiro and Lindsay Whalen also have 2,000 or more assists in their careers.
“I think early on in my career I learned very quickly that to stay in this league I was going to have to outwork people,” Vandersloot said. “I’m not the tallest, the quickest or the best shooter, but I knew I had a place in this league and I’ve been really fortunate with Chicago investing in me early. I credit a lot of my success in this league to just them trusting in me and getting me the ball and just knowing wherever you take us we’re gonna go.
I’ve been really lucky in my career here so far playing with incredible players that are just bucket-getters and I just have to get the ball to them. I’m really lucky and I don’t take that for granted, absolutely not. 2,000 assists is a lot, I know that and that's really exciting. I’ll celebrate it at some point. But it’s really my teammates doing most of the work.”
“The way she approaches the game and how professional she is, how hard she works and how talented she is, I think it all goes into it,” Sky coach James Wade said of Vandersloot. “So this is a big accomplishment and you’re talking about a career so far that you can match up with anybody’s.”
The Sky went on to lead by 27 twice in the fourth before Minnesota cut the final score to 105-89 in garbage time. It was Chicago’s third win in a row and improved their record to 5-7 (4-0 with Parker).
Vandersloot finished with 13 assists to go along with 10 points and four steals, while her wife Allie Quigley (3-of-3 from deep) led the way with 23 points. Stefanie Dolson (17 points), Diamond DeShields (16), Kahleah Copper (16) and Parker (12) all reached double figures as well.
The point totals for the Sky as a team and Quigley and Dolson individually marked season highs.
“You have thoughts but you know you have to play the games,” Wade said when asked if this was the Sky team he expected to see when Parker was signed in the offseason. “Everything was clicking for us tonight and our players stepped up. Everybody was important. So all 10 players got to give good minutes and they were able to do some good things on the floor. There’s so such thing as perfect games, but I thought we played well.”
“When you look at our team on paper when we’re going into training camp and we see our roster, we never really concerned ourselves with offense,” Vandersloot said. “Even early on in some offensive struggles a lot of conversations were like we never ever envisioned this being a problem because of all the threats and everything, how we play and what we can do as a group. Today I think it really showed us when we moved the ball and when we knock down shots, when we're all locked into how we want to play, that we can put up a lot of points.”
Napheesa Collier scored 27 points and Sylvia Fowles had 14 and nine rebounds in defeat. The Lynx fell to 4-6.
Vandersloot has now reached double-digit assists in a game 60 times and Quigley is one behind Fowles for most double-digit scoring performances in Sky history.
Dolson has reached double figures in three-straight contests. She had three double-figure performances in 15 games last year and already has four through six games this year.
“It does feel good to get a few wins,” Vandersloot said. “But I think we all realize that we still have a lot to work on, we have a lot of room to grow. ... Just because we’ve won a couple games in a row doesn’t mean everything is ok. We could easily go back down if we don’t do the things we need to do. This is a journey.”