Vandersloot’s Departure Marks End of an Era for Sky


Change is coming once and for all for the Chicago Sky.

It started last month with Candace Parker‘s decision to join the reigning-champion Las Vegas Aces, and it continued with Courtney Vandersloot‘s announcement that she won’t be re-signing with the Sky this offseason. The franchise point guard broke the news on social media two weeks ago today.


Two days later, she announced on Twitter that she’ll be joining the New York Liberty, reuniting with Stefanie Dolson — who was on the 2021 championship team.


Neither change provides much surprise. However, both are disappointments for the Sky and its fans. The first departure marked the end of a short-lived but exciting championship window.

But the latest change marks the end of an era.

Vandersloot is the Quintessential Sky Player

Vandersloot entered the W in 2011 when the Sky drafted her out of Gonzaga with the third overall pick. This was six years after the franchise’s inaugural season, so Sky basketball did exist sans the beloved player fans knew as “Sloot.” But simply put, the Sky sans Vandersloot seems strange and wrong.

This feels a lot like the Chicago Bulls and Kirk Hinrich.

A long-time Bull, Hinrich was a player you thought would always be with the team, as though one could not exist without the other. Cliché as it may be, some things are meant to be. Hinrich on the Bulls was one. Vandersloot on the Sky was another.

Much like Hinrich was once the quintessential Bull, Vandersloot was the Sky player. Over her 12 years in Chicago, she became synonymous with the organization. You couldn’t talk about one without also acknowledging the other. To do so would be a partial idea, an incomplete pass during a crucial possession.

From a franchise-low 12-win season to the organization’s lone championship, the four-time All-Star has been with the Sky for it all.

She helped Chicago make its first playoff appearance in 2013 and has been a part of the seven postseason runs afterward. She was there for the Sky’s first (and failed) championship appearance in 2014 and was present for the Sky’s shocking yet fulfilling storybook championship season in 2021. Slooty was on the team when home court was at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, and she made the move with the Sky to the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. 

From Mid-Major Star to Professional Point God

Vandersloot’s time with Chicago is about more than loyalty and longevity. She became the ultimate Sky player by making an impact on the court and transforming into the Point God.

In 12 seasons with Chicago, the former Gonzaga star is listed atop or toward the top of several categories for the Sky’s all-time leaders:

  • No. 1 in minutes played at 10,145
  • No. 1 in field goals at 1,386
  • No. 2 in 2-point field goals at 1,042
  • No. 2 in 3-point field goals at 325 (bested only by her wife, Allie Quigley)
  • No. 2 in free throws at 612
  • No. 2 in rebounds at 1,145
  • No. 1 in assists at 2,385
  • No. 1 in steals at 457
  • No. 4 in blocks at 153
  • No. 2 in points at 3,671 (once again bested only by Quigley)

With the time she sported Sky blue, none of those accolades are surprising. After all, Vandersloot was a vital player for the organization, not just a long-time member. But it helps put into further perspective how much of an impact she has had.

Her point-guard mastery, however, has been so compelling that her 2,385 assists are also third-best in WNBA history. Trailing only Sue Bird and Ticha Penicheiro, Vandersloot is the highest active player on the list.

While the hope is that — someday — the Sky can have such an elite playmaker on its roster again, Vandersloot’s passing excellence and playmaking prowess will surely be among the primary things the team will miss.

An Inevitable End, An Everlasting Impact

In her farewell message to Chicago, Vandersloot wrote, “I never planned for this day to come.” It’s a simple statement that carries incredible weight but one that encompasses the situation’s impact more than any other could. Because even though most expected the decision, the reality of it is different. It feels like an impossibility.

For many, the concept of the Sky without their beloved franchise point guard is unfathomable. It’s new territory that lacks the comfort and reliability of the constant that she was for Chicago. But the time was always going to come. In an ideal world, perhaps it would have been following a championship with a transition into retirement and not a move to another team. But not all narratives can be as grand as the storybook career Vandersloot has had with the Sky.

“It’s goodbye for now, but thank you always.” Likewise, Sloot.

About Ashley Wijangco

Ashley is a Filipina American writer and Illinois journalism graduate based in the Chicago suburbs. She has a decade's worth of sports writing experience, having been published in several online publications. She writes about the Bulls, the Sky, and general NBA content for The Lead.

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