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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Gonzaga unveils plans for Courtney Vandersloot jersey retirement on Feb. 11

Jan. 29, 2023 Updated Sun., Jan. 29, 2023 at 3:42 p.m.

By Jim Allen For The Spokesman-Review

The retirement of Courtney Vandersloot’s No. 21 jersey on Feb. 11 will be worth the wait, Gonzaga University officials said Friday.

After the event was announced on Jan. 5, the athletic department has planned to give it “all the pomp and circumstance” received by former GU men players, said Senior Associate Athletic Director Devon Thomas, who oversees athletic marketing and communications.

The ceremony will be held before the Zags’ game against Portland, which tips off at 1 p.m.

It will include videos, tributes from former teammates and comments from Vandersloot, who graduated in 2011 after leading the Zags to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament.

Vandersloot also is expected to be honored during the men’s game that night, athletic director Chris Standiford said.

Vandersloot, an All-American point guard and the most decorated player in program history, will be the first woman to have her jersey number retired at Gonzaga. It would have happened long ago but for her busy schedule.

“Obviously we’ve been trying to do this for a long time,” Standiford said. “She’s so deserving of this honor, and we’re do thrilled to have it lined up.”

The ceremony is almost sold out, with only about 150 seats available as of Friday morning. The school has aggressively promoted the event, offering two tickets for $21 (a nod to Vandersloot’s jersey number) with the promo code “Sloot” on the athletic department website.

“Folks have really taken advantage of that,” said Thomas, who added that fans are encouraged to arrive early on Feb. 11.

Vandersloot capped her GU career in 2011 by leading the Zags to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, the West Coast Conference Tournament and regular-season titles and a 31-5 record in 2010-11.

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

“It’s definitely a priority for us,” GU athletic director Chris Standiford said last year.

In the 2011 WNBA draft, she became the first Bulldogs player in school history to be drafted in the first round of the WNBA, as she was the third overall pick, taken by the Chicago Sky.

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

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity for her to be here and feel the love of the fans and connect with the current team and all those who have admired her as a player and a person,” Standiford said.

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