June 22, 2022 

Teaira McCowan is still adjusting to the Dallas Wings system

She is making a difference while playing sporadic minutes

Three-year center Teaira McCowan was one of the biggest acquisitions in the offseason — figuratively and literally. Standing at 6’7, she always commands attention and she could be the piece that helps the Wings get over the hump and advance in the playoffs. Last season, McCowan averaged 26.5 minutes per game and was third in rebounding, averaging 9.6 per game. So far this season? She is averaging career lows. 11.2 minutes per game, 5.8 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game.

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Dallas is still trying to find their way, beginning the season 8-9, including an 80-75 loss to the Atlanta Dream Wednesday night. Parallel to that journey is finding the production from and the opportunity for McCowan. She has been playing catch-up with the Wings, who are trying to get acclimated with the organization’s second-year head coach Vickie Johnson‘s system. She said the team has been patient with her as she adjusts and they are working on building trust.

McCowan played a season-high 25 minutes in their contest at home against the Phoenix Mercury on June 17, putting up 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. She helped Dallas snap a four-game losing streak. It was a game that showed what she could do for the Wings; she just needs an opportunity to continue to do so. Coach Johnson has described McCowan as a walking double-double.

“She is still trying to learn our system and what we’re trying to do defensively and offensively. I think she has been playing well for us,” Johnson said. “Like I tell them play your minutes and play your minutes hard and put winning over everything else.”

The team’s second-leading scorer Allisha Gray said McCowan has been doing the extra work that others do not see.

“She in before practice, putting in extra work before games, after games putting in extra work. Honestly, she’s been great for us, she is a big presence and the post and she’s just been amazing.”

While her minutes have been sporadic, whenever McCowan’s number is called, she has been prepared to make a difference in the game because of her work before practice.

“Working out with our strength and conditioning coach. I think that we do a lot to help me stay prepared for the game, so kudos to Preston [Smith],” McCowan said.

There have been nights where McCowan has not been able to play, but she has not let that bother her. She gets to see the game from a different perspective when she is on the sidelines.

“I just watch the game and see how we can take advantage of teams and their defensive scheme. So I think that just being over there and watching the game, I come in and do what I do and I think it is paying off in a great way,” McCowan said.

Dallas has five games before the All-Star break and will have to continue to stay competitive and close out games. McCowan will be a huge part of that as she can contribute offensively and defensively. Coach Johnson said the team just has to focus on winning.

“Let’s just win the basketball game. Let’s not worry about who starts or who finishes whatever; lets just win the basketball game,” Johnson said.

She was a significant addition for Dallas and has the potential to become a leader and a lead contributor to this team. It is just going to take some time. When she recorded her first double-double in that Phoenix game, Wings scoring leader Arike Ogunbowale said McCowan is amazing.

“She’s amazing. I’ve seen her play a lot. I’ve played against her in college, WNBA and she’s a big body and demands a lot of attention,” Ogunbowale said. “When we can get her going and playing like that, it’s going to be hard to stop us.”

Only time will tell.

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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