The hits keep coming for Courtney Vandersloot.
One day after breaking a single-game WNBA record with 18 assists against the Indiana Fever, Vandersloot was named one of the W’s players of the month for August, along with A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.
It’s the first player of the month Vandersloot has won in her 10-year career, and well-deserved. Her line for August was downright gaudy: 13.6 points, 9.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 49-37.2-94.4 shooting splits. Battling injuries, the Sky went 9-5 in the month to push their season-long mark to 11-6 entering the home stretch of the season. Five games remain, with the team currently the No. 5 seed in the playoffs.
"It gives you energy," head coach James Wade said of the morale-boost Vandersloot being recognized provides. "And it gives a player confidence... Once you have a player that's never won player of the month, and is so recently getting all this praise that she should have probably been getting from a long time ago, it gives that player confidence too to say, 'OK, I am one of the best players in the world.'"
In the month, Vandersloot had four double-doubles and five double-digit assist outings, including a 15-dime night against the Aces on Aug. 18, and cemented herself in an MVP debate headlined by her, Wilson, the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart and the Connecticut Sun’s DeWanna Bonner.
But Vandersloot, in typical fashion, said the recent spate of accolades won't deter her from her main focus.
"I don't come out here to break records or being the player of the month, that's not my motivation," she said. "My motivation is my teammates and winning. And all of those things (accolades) are coming along with it, which is absolutely amazing — and it's such a great honor, I'm not trying to downplay it at all — but when I go out there on the court my mindset is the same. It's to be the best version of myself, and to help the team win."
She's made a career of doing just that. For the fourth straight season, Vandersloot is on pace to lead the W in assists per game (9.3) by a wide margin, and could become just the second player to average over 9.0 assists per game for a full season, joining… Courtney Vandersloot from 2019. Only one other (Ticha Penicheiro, 2002) has even topped 8.0 per game. To boot, Vandersloot also currently owns the highest scoring average (13.2 points per game) of her career.
"Every time I think she's at her peak, she just goes to another level," said Allie Quigley. "It's just been awesome, to see our team rally around her, and to see her get the recognition."
She's the engine of the league’s second-rated offense, one of the most tantalizing players going and widely lauded for her selfless leadership. Where words and numbers can sometimes fall short, highlights never lie. Here are all 18 of Vandersloot's record-breaking assists from Monday night: