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Teammates first, spouses second: Chicago Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley are flourishing

UPDATED: Wed., July 3, 2019, 9:30 p.m.

By Percy Allen Seattle Times

SEATTLE – It’s always fun to see family and friends, but after nine years in the WNBA, a trip to Seattle doesn’t have the same allure that it once did for Courtney Vandersloot.

Still, last Friday’s homecoming was special for the former Gonzaga University star because it was her first time back since the Chicago Sky guard married teammate Allie Quigley. (The game not so much, as the Storm beat the Sky 79-76 that night.)

“(It was) our six-month anniversary,” Vandersloot said. “So in that regard it’s fun being here and just reliving those memories.”

Last Dec. 28 at the downtown hotel Edgewater Inn, Vandersloot and Quigley tied the knot during a ceremony that included Sky teammate Diamond DeShields.

The Chicago Sky guards kept their relationship private until announcing their nuptials on social media two days after the marriage.

“It was great,” Vandersloot said. “Her family is from Chicago, but they all made it out. My family was there. We love it here. She was drafted here. We both have connections to Seattle. It was cool.”

Vandersloot and Quigley became the WNBA’s second married couple, joining the Phoenix Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner and the Indiana Fever’s Candice Dupree.

“I’m lucky enough to play and travel with my wife,” Vandersloot said. “It’s awesome. We compete. We get at it. We make each other better. I’m hard on her, but that’s how it’s been since the beginning. I credit a lot of my individual success to her.

“My career really took off once we started dating and we started really committing to each other and the court. Both of our careers took off. We owe each other a lot. We just want to continue to grow together both on and off the court.“

Quigley, who was drafted by the Storm in 2008 and played seven games in Seattle in 2011, spent a year out of the WNBA before finding a home in Chicago in 2013.

After four years as a backup and winning the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year award in 2014 and ’15, Quigley moved into the starting lineup and became a two-time All-Star while averaging 16.4 points and 15.4 in 2017 and ‘18, respectively.

Simultaneously, Vandersloot, who has spent her entire career with the Sky, has played the best basketball of her career in the past 2 1/2 years.

In 2017, Vandersloot averaged a league-best 8.1 assists.

The next year, the 5-foot-8 point guard broke the WNBA season record for assists with 258. She also averaged a career high 12.5 points.

This season, Vandersloot and Quigley are two of the leaders of a Chicago team that started strong but now sits at 6-7. In Tuesday’s 90-82 loss to Las Vegas, Vandersloot had 12 assists and Quigley 18 points.

“It’s taken us two years to make the transition, but we’re a team that doesn’t necessarily have that superstar and we’re trying to make it work,” Vandersloot said. “But don’t get me wrong, (second-year) Diamond DeShields will be a superstar in this league.

“In the meantime, we’re kind of getting it done by committee.”

Early in their courtship, Vandersloot and Quigley made a commitment to each other to put basketball first, which put everything else into perspective.

“It’s so weird, but it’s never been hard or difficult for us,” Vandersloot said. “We’re both on the same level of how committed we are to basketball and our careers and that’s what makes it so easy.”

Still, Vandersloot doesn’t necessarily believe she’s a role model for others.

“We came to this by chance,” she said. “We’re lucky to be in the position that we are, but it’s not for everyone. We wouldn’t recommend it by any means because you do spend a lot of time – maybe too much time – with each other.

“We happen to handle it well. But I wouldn’t recommend it.“

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