Chicago Sky point guards Courtney Vandersloot & Ticha Penicheiro get quizzed on each others athletic and personal backgrounds. Who will emerge victorious?
Alex Chambers recently caught up with Chicago Sky point guards Ticha Penicheiro and Courtney Vandersloot, with Ticha the old-school veteran and Sloot the eager young apprentice. Check out the video, but first, here's a resume reminder on the Chicago pair.
You gotta love Ticha Penicheiro, I remember the days of her ballin’ out for Old Dominion University. The Portugal native brought a lot of excitement to the women’s game with her flashy European ballhandling skills, stunning defenders all the way to the 1997 NCAA Final Four where ODU fell to Tennessee in the national championship game.
One year later, the 5-11 guard was the second pick in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the Sacramento Monarchs, where she continued to prove she was one of the best point guards in the world. As a rookie, Ticha led the WNBA in assists, averaging 7.5 a game, and recorded 10 or more assists eight times that season. By 2008 she became the first player in WNBA history to reach 2,000 career assists and is currently the all-time assist leader in the WNBA at 2,560 and counting.
Over her career 15-year career, she has averaged a ridiculous 5.8 dimes a game and all those handles helped Ticha rack up some hardware, including a WNBA championship ring with the Monarchs in 2005 and four All-Star appearances. The WNBA recognized her significance by naming her to the All-Decade Team in 2006 and last year she was recognized as one of the Top15 WNBA Players of All Time.
Courtney Vandersloot and Ticha Penicheiro high-five Chicago Sky fans. (Photo by Gary Dineen/Getty Images/NBAE)
You know you’ve achieved some status when you have a one-word nickname that transcends your full birth name. Just say the name “Sloot” around anyone familiar with women’s basketball and they know you’re talking about Courtney Vandersloot, the 5-8 point guard who starred at mid-major power Gonzaga before moving on to the WNBA.
Sloot helped lead Gonzaga to back-to-back undefeated seasons in the West Coast Conference, and her senior year led the conference in scoring and assists with 14 points and an amazing 9.4 dimes per game. No biggie in the WCC, a weaker conference, critics would say. But the smackdown came in the 2011 NCAA tournament when the 11th seeded Zags pulled off a series of upsets and became the lowest seed in tournament history to advance to the Sweet 16.
During that run (which ended with a loss to Stanford), Vandersloot became the first player in Division I history, male or female, to amass 2,000 career points and 1,000 career assists. She also collected a pocketful of major awards in college basketball, including the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award and the Nancy Leiberman Award as well as being named to the Wooden All-American team and the WBCA All-American team.
In 2011 Sloot was the third overall pick in the WNBA Draft and earned a starting role for the Sky by the time the season opened. This year she is dishing out 4.7 assists and putting up 8.5 points per game as the Sky continue their quest to reach the playoffs -- and she's been especially effective during the post-Olympic break when Chicago has been facing a series of must-win games.
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