Chicago Sky star passes Ticha Penicheiro
Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot finished with 10 assists in Tuesday’s 91-88 win over the Minnesota Lynx. In doing so, Vandersloot toppled Ticha Penicheiro’s single-season assist record, which stood at 236.
Penicheiro, who played in Chicago in 2012, congratulated her former teammate on the honor:
— Ticha Penicheiro (@TichaPenicheiro) August 15, 2018
Vandersloot even did it in two fewer games than Penicheiro, who made 30 appearances in her record-setting 2000 campaign. The Sky tracked each one of Vandersloot’s games in 2018:
.@Sloot22 set a #WNBA record tonight by surpassing the single season assists record set by Ticha Penicheiro in 2000. Vandersloot set this new record in just 28 games. #Skytown pic.twitter.com/wzmVsrBfdq
— Chicago Sky (@wnbachicagosky) August 15, 2018
Because the Sky have hovered in the bottom half of the league for much of the season, it has been easy to overlook the 29-year-old’s contributions.
Entering Tuesday, Vandersloot was averaging 8.6 assists, a season after dishing out 8.1 dimes per game. To put those numbers into perspective, only two other players in league history have even averaged seven assists over the course of a WNBA season (Penicheiro and Sue Bird), according to Basketball Reference.
Critics may point to Chicago’s last game as a way to try and discount Vandersloot’s record.
The Sky drew the ire of Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller when Amber Stocks called a timeout late in a 97-86 win over the Sun in order to break the single-game team assists record. Vandersloot was also an assist shy of tying the single-game mark.
But Vandersloot hasn’t merely been padding the stat sheet in garbage time.
According to WNBA.com, she averaged 11.8 assists in nine wins for the Sky, compared to 6.8 assists in 18 defeats. Vandersloot’s playmaking has been integral to Chicago’s offense, and she has helped bring out the best in two of the team’s biggest stars, Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson.
Vandersloot deserves to have her name in the WNBA record book alongside the league’s greatest players.