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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Gonzaga to retire Courtney Vandersloot’s jersey Dec. 30

Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot (22) back, yells while celebrating with teammate Astou Ndour-Fall (45) after defeating the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals to become the 2021 WNBA champions Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Chicago.  (Associated Press)

Gonzaga will retire the jersey of All-American and WNBA champion Courtney Vandersloot on Dec. 30, the school announced Wednesday night.

The news, accompanied by highlights of Vandersloot on the court, was delivered by coach Lisa Fortier during the first quarter of the Zags’ home game against Washington State.

Retiring Vandersloot’s No. 21 jersey has been in the works for some time; in fact, no one has worn the number since she graduated in 2011.

“It’s definitely a priority for us,” GU athletic director Chris Standiford told The Spokesman-Review in October.

The ceremony will be held before the Zags’ West Coast Conference opener against San Francisco. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Vandersloot will be the first women’s player to have her jersey retired. The Kennel rafters hold the retired numbers of three men’s players: Frank Burgess, John Stockton and Adam Morrison.

Vandersloot is easily the most decorated player in program history.

In her senior year, Vandersloot, a three-time WCC Player of the Year, was named to the Associated Press All-America Team second team and was named the Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the top point guard in the nation.

Vandersloot, a native of Kent, Washington, also led the Zags to the best postseason run in program history, all the way to the Elite Eight, in her senior year in 2011. Gonzaga finished 31-5 that year.

A few weeks later, Vandersloot was the third pick in the WNBA draft and the first Zag to be chosen in the first round.

This year, Vandersloot was a major reason the Chicago Sky won their first WNBA championship.

In the first round of the playoffs, Vandersloot posted the WNBA’s second triple-double in playoff history against the Connecticut Sun. Her triple-double included a playoff-record 18 assists, a personal-best 10 rebounds and 12 points.

At Gonzaga, Vandersloot led the nation in assists per game in 2009-10 and 2010-11. She broke the NCAA single-season assist record with 367 in her senior season. She is the first NCAA Division I player, male or female, to amass career totals of 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.

Vandersloot earned John R. Wooden Award All-America and Associated Press All-America honorable mention honors. She was the only women’s player in WCC history to be named the conference’s player of the year three times, and also the only women’s player to be named MVP of the WCC Tournament three times.

During the 2020 WNBA season, she was the first player in league history to average double-digit assists in the season and led the WNBA with 10 assists per game. She set the WNBA single-game record for most assists in a game with 18 and posted a double-double in nine of 22 games.