Home US SportsWNBA Liberty continue to play for Courtney Vandersloot after win over Sparks: ‘We’re a family’

Liberty continue to play for Courtney Vandersloot after win over Sparks: ‘We’re a family’


Liberty guard Courtney Vandersloot has been missed.

The former first-round pick has not been with the team for the past couple of weeks due to personal reasons.

While the specifics of her absence were never shared, the organization held a moment of silence prior to the team’s win over the Sparks on Thursday night at Barclays Center. The Liberty honored Vandersloot’s mom Jan, who passed away over the weekend after a two-year battle with cancer.

“We’ve been playing for [Vandersloot] for a lot of our games now,” Sabrina Ionescu said of how special Thursday’s win was. “She’s a big part of our team but any time we come together it shows why we play and what’s important in life. Just wrapping our arms around her and her family in this time is important. We know how much she wants to be here and be able to play for us.”

Vandersloot arrived with the Liberty in 2023 after a successful 12-year tenure with the Chicago Sky that culminated with a WNBA Championship in 2021. She, along with Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, helped lead the Liberty to the WNBA Finals a season ago in their first year in New York.

And despite her short time with the Liberty, the love Vandersloot’s teammates have for her is obvious. Whether it’s Stewart’s shout-out after the Liberty’s massive win over the previously undefeated Connecticut Sun or their continued support through the media, it shows that the players are closer than just teammates.

“We’re a family,” Jones said. “As much as we love basketball and we understand it’s a business and it’s our a jobs, it makes you put things in perspective and there’s a lot of other things going on in life.”

“We’re wanting to do our best to play for her because she’s a huge part of this team and we can’t wait for her to come back,” Ionescu said.

And the Liberty are doing their best. At 13-3, New York has matched their best 16-game start to a season in franchise history and Vandersloot has contributed. Over her nine games played, she’s averaging 7.6 points and 5.3 assists per game.

The Liberty’s next game is Saturday against the Sparks. Whether Vandersloot plays is unclear but as Jones and the rest of the team said, she can take as much as time as she needs.

“We want to support her through the organization, through the fans, obviously, and it’s us playing hard so she comes back and take as much time to get back to her full self.”

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