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Wings update: Kalani Brown comes up big in win over Minnesota

Signed to an emergency hardship contract just hours before the Dallas Wings took on the Minnesota Lynx, Kalani Brown gave the Wings important minutes off the bench and a paint presence the team had been missing in Teaira McCowan’s absence.

Minnesota Lynx v Dallas Wings
Dallas Wings center No. 21 Kalani Brown gave the team crucial minutes in its recent win over Minnesota.
Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

With star center Teaira McCowan still sidelined due to a knee injury she suffered in the Dallas Wings’ (3-1) season opener, the Wings signed a familiar face in Kalani Brown to shore up their frontcourt depth — and the immediate results were an unquestionable success.

Brown, who competed for the Wings in training camp and was waived shortly before the opening-day roster cut deadline, was brought back to the team on an emergency hardship contract granted due to the ongoing absences of Diamond DeShields and Lou Lopez Sénéchal (both of whom are recovering from knee injuries), and she looked like she hadn’t missed a beat in a 94-89 Dallas victory over the Minnesota Lynx. Brown recorded 12 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes of action, playing both behind and alongside Natasha Howard, who had an excellent game herself (25 points on 11-of-15 shooting). Those minutes were key in the win — as evidenced by Brown’s box plus/minus of +9 — especially considering the void previously left by McCowan.

Up until this point, Wings head coach Latricia Trammell has been reluctant to play Awak Kuier (8.3 minutes per game) or rookie Maddy Siegrist (4.2 minutes), so while Howard and Satou Sabally (22.3 points and nine rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game) will likely continue to have heavy workloads in Dallas’ starting frontcourt, Brown’s performance just hours after signing her hardship contract may have earned her the role of the team’s first big off the bench — until McCowan returns, that is. The Wings have been mum about providing a timeline for McCowan’s recovery, but even after she returns from injury, Brown will still be on the roster, and Trammell is clearly a fan of her size at 6-foot-7.

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What’s next for the Wings

Dallas plays two more games this week, both on the road. On Friday, they’ll take on the Washington Mystics (2-2), followed by a matchup against the Connecticut Sun (5-1) on Sunday. Both games will be a good test for the Wings, who went 1-2 against the Mystics last season and 2-1 against the Sun.