Vandersloot Named to All-WNBA First Team; DeShields Earns Second Team Honors

CHICAGO – Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot has been named to the All-WNBA First Team and guard Diamond DeShields has earned All-WNBA Second Team honors, the league announced today.

It marks the first time Vandersloot has garnered the All-WNBA First Team designation in her nine-year career, having made two previous Second Team appearances in 2015 and 2018. This season, Vandersloot led the league with 9.1 APG, received her third WNBA Peak Performance Award, and returned to the WNBA All-Star game for the first time since her rookie season in 2011. The veteran point guard made WNBA history when she broke her own record of 8.6 APG, which she set last year. She also became the first player in WNBA history to reach 300 assists in a single season, recording 12 double-figure assist games, and moved into first place on the WNBA’s all-time list when her six double-doubles with assists this season totaled 29 for her career, ahead of Sue Bird’s previously held record of 28.

“We are so excited for Sloot to be able to realize a lifelong dream of hers, and for her to be considered one of the best players in the world,” said Sky General Manager and Head Coach James Wade. “With her being drafted by the Sky, being one of the best assist-makers in the country, and constantly breaking records every year, this was a goal of not only mine but a goal of the organization. So for her to be recognized in this way, and to be an All-Star on top of that, we thought it was a great year for her and a great year for our entire organization.”

On the 2019 All-WNBA First Team, Vandersloot (197 points) is joined by Washington Mystics forward-guard and WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne (215), Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (191), Los Angeles Sparks guard Chelsea Gray (175) and Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard (158).

DeShields makes her All-WNBA debut in her second season. The 2018 No. 3 overall draft pick became a WNBA All-Star for the first time this year, going home champion of the 2019 Skills Competition.

“It’s super cool to be recognized as an all-WNBA team member,” DeShields said. “I know that this is an honor that most second-year players don’t get, so I am just truly grateful for my teammates, coaches, and the city of Chicago for providing an environment for me to thrive in. This league is full of incredibly talented players so I’m just happy to be recognized as one of them. Looking forward to the future, but definitely going to enjoy this.”

DeShields led the Sky in scoring with 16.2 points per game and celebrated her 1,000th WNBA career point when she poured in a career-high 30 points on Sept. 6 vs. Connecticut. She currently leads the WNBA in fast-break points with 3.8 per game.

“We are so proud of Diamond,” Wade said. “All of the things that she’s accomplished since her rookie year, as far as being on the All-Star team and representing her country on the US women’s senior national team – this is just icing on the cake for her to be recognized as one of the top players in the league in her second year. We are thrilled for the years to come, to continue to see her growth and build on this successful campaign.”

The 2019 All-WNBA Second Team consists of Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones (150 points), Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (146), Las Vegas Aces center Liz Cambage (65), Sky guard Diamond DeShields (54) and Minnesota Lynx guard Odyssey Sims (48).  DeShields and Sims are making their All-WNBA debuts.

Voting for the All-WNBA First and Second Teams was conducted by a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters at the conclusion of the regular season.  Players were selected by position and received five points for each First Team vote and three points for each Second Team vote.  If a player received votes at multiple positions, she was slotted at the position where she received the most votes.

2019 All-WNBA First Team

Elena Delle Donne, Mystics: Delle Donne earned her fourth All-WNBA First Team honor and fifth All-WNBA selection overall.  The two-time WNBA MVP ranked second in the league in scoring (19.5 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and 11th in blocked shots (1.29 bpg).  She became the first WNBA player to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (51.5), 40 percent from three-point range (43.0) and 90 percent from the free throw line (WNBA-high 97.4).

Courtney Vandersloot, Sky: This marks the third All-WNBA selection for Vandersloot, a Second Team member in 2015 and 2018.  Vandersloot broke her own WNBA records for assist average (9.1 apg) and total assists (300), winning her third consecutive assist title and fourth overall (she also led the league in 2015).

Brittney Griner, Mercury: Griner was named All-WNBA for the fifth time and All-WNBA First Team for the second time (she was also First Team in 2014). She averaged 20.7 points to win her second scoring title in the last three seasons and tied the Sun’s Jones for the league lead in blocked shots with 2.0 per game.

Chelsea Gray, Sparks: An All-WNBA Second Team selection in 2017, Gray averaged 14.5 points (tied for 13th in the WNBA) and a career-high 5.9 assists (second) this season.  She was named a WNBA All-Star Game starter for the first time in her third consecutive All-Star appearance.

Natasha Howard, Storm: The 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year averaged career highs of 18.1 points (fourth in the WNBA), 8.2 rebounds (sixth) and 2.18 steals (second) to go with 1.74 blocks (third).  She was voted to the All-Defensive First Team for the second straight year and earned her first All-Star selection.

2019 All-WNBA Second Team

Jonquel Jones, Sun: Jones averaged 9.7 rebounds for her second rebounding title in four seasons, tied for the WNBA lead in blocked shots with 2.0 per game and contributed 14.6 points to help Connecticut finish with the league’s second-best record.  She was also selected to the WNBA All-Defensive Team for the first time.

Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks: This is the second All-WNBA First Team selection for Ogwumike, who was also honored in 2016, when she was the league’s MVP.  Now a four-time All-WNBA honoree, Ogwumike ranked ninth in the WNBA in scoring (16.1 ppg), fourth in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and fifth in steals (1.88 spg).

Liz Cambage, Aces: In her first season with Las Vegas, Cambage averaged 15.9 points (10th in the WNBA), 8.2 rebounds (seventh) and 1.59 blocks (sixth).  The 6-8 center was a member of the All-WNBA First Team in 2018, when she led the league in scoring and finished second in rebounding.

Diamond DeShields, Sky: A first-time All-WNBA and All-Star selection in her second season, DeShields ranked eighth in the WNBA in scoring (16.2 ppg) and added 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.26 steals.  She joined Vandersloot in helping Chicago reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Odyssey Sims, Lynx: In her first season with Minnesota, the six-year veteran tied Gray for 13th in the WNBA in scoring (14.5 ppg) and ranked fourth in assists (5.4 apg) en route to her first All-WNBA honor.  A first-time All-Star this season, Sims started all 34 games for the first time in her career.

In honor of their accomplishments, each member of the All-WNBA First Team will receive $10,000 and each member of the Second Team will receive $5,000. Below are the voting results for the 2019 All-WNBA Teams.

2019 ALL-WNBA FIRST TEAM 

Position          Player, Team                                      1st Team     2nd Team      Total

Forward          Elena Delle Donne, Washington               43                  —              215

Guard              Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago               37                  4              197

Center             Brittney Griner, Phoenix                            34                  7              191

Guard              Chelsea Gray, Los Angeles                       26                 15             175

Forward          Natasha Howard, Seattle                          22                 16             158

2019 ALL-WNBA SECOND TEAM

Position          Player, Team                                      1st Team     2nd Team      Total

Forward          Jonquel Jones, Connecticut                      18                  20            150

Forward          Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles                16                  22            146

Center             Liz Cambage, Las Vegas                          1                    20            65

Guard              Diamond DeShields, Chicago                   3                    13             54

Guard              Odyssey Sims, Minnesota                         3                    11              48