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ESPNW has a final take on Courtney Vandersloot's rookie season in the WNBA.
Former Gonzaga women's basketball star Courtney Vandersloot (above, throwing out a first pitch at a Mariner's game early this season - I just like the pix) completed her first WNBA season on Sunday and was named to the All-Rookie team on Friday.
The No. 3 overall draft pick is surrounded by some familiar names, including top pick Maya Moore, who went to Minnesota from UConn, Oklahoma's Danielle Robinson and Texas A&M's Danielle Adams, both of San Antonio, and Australian Liz Cambage of Tulsa.
The voting was done by coaches, who couldn't vote for their own player. Moore was rookie of the year after leading the Lynx from the worst record to the best. Moore and Robinson were named by all 11 opposing coaches, Vandersloot got 10 and the other two nine.
Vandersloot (the subject of a Lukens at Large inteview) set Chicago's single-season assist record and made the WNBA all-star team. She started 26 of 34 games and averaged 6.5 points and 3.7 assists. She will play in Turkey before returning for her second season with Chicago next summer.
Just a quick post for the link our game story from Courtney Vandersloot and the Chicago Sky ending the WNBA regular season with a loss at defending champion Seattle. (Monday exhaustion and Tuesday forgetfulness, a bad combo.)
BTW, in the photo above, Vandersloot's idol, Sue Bird, fouled her. As she bumped Vandersloot off-balance, Vandersloot's hand flew out and smacked Bird in the mouth, causing a slight bloody lip. Afterwards, with a shy smile, Vandersloot said, “Yeah, I felt bad about that.”
UPDATE: Vandersloot finishes with five points and two assists in 22 minutes of an 81-70 loss.
Vandersloot hits a 3 late in first half but her Chicago Sky trail Seattle Storm 41-33. Vandersloot is 1-5 with one board, two assists, two fouls in 13 minutes.
Getting from the interstate to Key Arena, with the Mercer exit closed, was nothing compared to getting on-line at Key Arena, but we did. Didn't need to look up with Courtney Vandersloot came out for warmups.
There was a story today about her rookie season in the WNBA (the by-line was left off, but yes, I took a break from hockey and rodeo to talk to her), as well as a little catch-up with local players Briann January and Angie Bjorklund, who are injured.
There could be a near-record crowd here because of Vandersloot. There was a Gonzaga alumni function before the game and another after. The GU women's team is here, plaeyrs in Sky T's, and the City of Kent, where Vandersloot went to high school, is doing something.
Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot, right photo, drives to the basket as Tulsa Shock's Andrea Riley guards during the second half of an WNBA basketball game earlier today in Rosemont, Ill. Also, Tulsa' Shock's Amber Holt, left photo, looks to pass as Chicago Sky's Angie Bjorklund guards her during the second half. Vandersloot, a 2010-11 Gonzaga Bulldog Star, and Bjorklund, a Spokane product who played for Tennessee, are now both playing for the Sky. The Sky won 72-54, as Vandersloot had 8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, & 2 blocks in 26 minutes. Bjorklund didn't score in 12 minutes of play. You can see game recap & boxscore here. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The WNBA season opens tonight but the first game for the local trio is Saturday.
The Chicago Sky, with rookies Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga) and Angie Bjorklund (University HS) opens at Indiana, with third-year veteran Briann January (Lewis and Clark HS).
You can find information about the two teams and the league in general at ESPN.com, WNBA.com and Sports Illustrated. Most predictions have the Seattle Storm repeating as WNBA champion with Indiana expected to make the East Division playoffs. It's about 50-50 on the Sky making the top 4 in the East for the first time ever.
Seattle raises its banner Saturday in a noon game on ABC.
Chicago-Indiana is at 4 p.m., and it can be followed through the WNBA website or the team websites.
By the way, the game tonight, 8 p.m. , is Minnesota, with No. 1 draft pick Maya Moore, at Los Angeles and Candace Parker.
Indiana plays its only game at Seattle on June 17, Chicago's only trip is the season finale on Sept. 11 (you don't suppose that will get overshadowed quite a bit, do you?).
Each team only has one appearance on ESPN2 (full schedule below), Tulsa at Indian on June 14 and Seattle at Chicago on July 19.
Courtesy of Jayda Evans and her women's basketball blog at The Seattle Times I found this report from Team USA training camp on former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot.
National team coach Geno Auriemma was also asked to evaluate Vandersloot, stating, “I'll tell you what, I must have heard from five or six coaches that watched practice and I'd say 'Who is the most surprising player at practice?' and they would tell you Courtney Vandersloot, every one of them, every one of them.
“That says a lot for somebody who really doesn't play that kind of game. She's not going up and down the floor going 'I just saw Sue do this, let me try it. I just saw D do this, let me try it.' She does exactly what she's good at and she does it well.”
There is more from Slam Online about Chicago Sky players and Vandersloot, the Sky's No. 1 pick last month.
Every time you turn around it seems like Courtney Vandesloot is doing something special … and the mayor hasn't even given her a key to the city - yet.
After hauling in numberous awards at the NCAA Women's Final Four she headed to ESPN headquarters for the WNBA Draft - where she wsa picked third by the Chicago Sky.
Sunday it was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Mariners and Tuesday, while she was en route to Detroit to pick up the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation's best point guard, USA Basketball announced that the Gonzaga senior and 6-8 Baylor junior Brittney Griner were joining the national team tryouts in Las Vegas next month.
This is the first step in determining the team for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Team USA won gold at the world championships in 2010 and all those players are back, plus all that were cut to get down to 12, so Vandersloot faces long odds, but pretty soon some new blood will have to be considered for international cmpetition.
If you want to be impress with the company Vandersloot is keeping, check the roster below.
Better late than never, my story on Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot and U-Hi grad Angie Bjorklund both being drafted by the Chicago Sky of the WNBA.
For other stories I found, keep reading.
Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot speaks to the media after being chosen by the Chicago Sky as the No. 3 pick in the WNBA basketball draft in Bristol, Conn., earlier today. Chicago also took Spokane's Angie Bjorklund, who played for Tennessee. Story here. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton Robb)
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