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Chicago last stop on Liberty’s ‘revenge’ tour

Vandersloot returns to Windy City to face former teammates

June 1, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Jonquel Jones enjoyed a successful first encounter against her former Connecticut Sun teammates at Downtown’s Barclays Center last Saturday.

Breanna Stewart celebrated her return to Seattle in MVP fashion Tuesday night.

Now, all that’s left for Brooklyn’s gaudy offseason haul of new acquisitions is Courtney Vandersloot’s first visit to Chicago on Friday night as the streaking Liberty shoot for their fourth straight win and a perfect 3-0 run through the reunion portion of their early season schedule.

“We were joking in the locker room about it being a revenge tour,” New York point guard Sabrina Ionescu said after the Liberty toppled the Storm, 86-78, behind Stewart’s 25-point effort in the Emerald City.

“Because now we’re going to Chicago and we’re about to experience the same thing with Sloot, but I think it’s just understanding where they’re coming from and being there for them.”

Vandersloot, a 2021 WNBA champion, four-time All-Star and the league’s all-time assists leader during her 12-year tenure with the Sky (3-2), has fit in alongside Ionescu to form a dynamic backcourt in Brooklyn.

The 34-year-old former first-round pick admitted last month as the Liberty (3-1) opened training camp at Barclays Center that she had plenty of reasons not to leave Chicago.

Foremost, her mother Jan’s cancer diagnosis.

“I found out at the end of July, that’s when the diagnosis came through and you know it was obviously completely out of the blue,” Vandersloot said.

“I was shocked. There was every emotion you can imagine and just the unknown,” she added. “I’ve been fortunate with the people around me, I’ve never experienced something like this.”

After scoring 20 points in Seattle on Tuesday, Sabrina Ionescu will try to help Courtney Vandersloot earn a win against her former Sky teammates Friday. AP Photo by Lindsey Wasson

Vandersloot arrived here with Jones and Stewart to help guide New York to its first-ever WNBA title.

She also revealed back in February after deciding to sign here as a free agent that the only WNBA home she had ever known wasn’t going to be her last.

“Dear Chicago, I am so grateful to you,” Vandersloot wrote in a letter via social media. “My first time ever setting foot in Chicago was the day I landed for training camp my rookie year. Twelve years later, it became a place I call home. One of the biggest blessings in my life was meeting my wife and together building a championship team in her city.

“Although I never planned for this day to come, I have decided that it is time for me to pursue a new beginning,” she added. “I will forever be grateful for the memories I have made during my time here. As I look ahead to a new chapter, with a new team, in a new city, know that Chicago, its fans and the Sky organization will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Sky fans should be glum about losing Vandersloot, but will doubtlessly greet her with the respect she earned as one of the best players the organization has ever produced.

The Gonzaga alum has made a quick impact on her new team, which dropped its season opener in Washington, D.C. on May 19 before sweeping through its last three opponents, including the first two legs of this ongoing reunion tour.

Vandersloot is averaging 9.3 points and 8.8 helpers per contest through her first four games with New York, and has also led the Liberty in assists in each contest.

She had a season-high 18 points in Jones’ matchup against the Sun and handed out a season-best 11 assists Tuesday
night in Seattle to help Stewart earn a win after an emotional homecoming.

Hopefully, her fellow “Superteam” members will be up to help her get a win on the next stop of what Ionescu jokingly referred to as a revenge tour.

Courtney Vandersloot and Breanna Stewart came here in February to help the Liberty grab their first-ever WNBA title. AP Photo by Jessie Alcheh

GIVE ME LIBERTY: The Sky will follow the Liberty back to the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush after Friday’s game as the teams will finish up a home-and-home here on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. … Nyara Sabally, New York’s first-round pick in 2022, is averaging 6.5 points in her first two games with the Liberty. The Oregon alum missed her initial campaign here due to a knee injury.


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