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Sparks Acquire Brittney Sykes and Marie Gülich from Atlanta Dream in Exchange for Kalani Brown

Los Angeles Sparks Official Release

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks have acquired guard Brittney Sykes and center Marie Gülich from the Atlanta Dream in exchange for center Kalani Brown, the team announced today.

“We’re excited to add two more talented players to our roster in Brittney Sykes and Marie Gülich,” Managing Partner and Governor Eric Holoman said. “Brittney is an athletic young guard who puts pressure on the defense, gets to the free-throw line and takes pride on the defensive end. Marie gives our frontcourt additional rim protection and rebounding.”

Drafted seventh overall in 2017 by the Dream, Sykes has averaged 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game over three seasons. In 2017, she made the WNBA All-Rookie team. In 2018, she helped Atlanta earn the No. 2 seed and appeared in five playoff games for the organization, averaging 12.6 points per game. Sykes attended Syracuse University and is from Newark, New Jersey.

The 6-foot-5 German center Gülich attended Oregon State where she averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game her senior season. She was drafted 12th overall by the Phoenix Mercury in 2018 before being traded to Atlanta during the 2019 draft. In limited minutes, Gülich averaged 3.3 points and 2.7 minutes per game last season.

In exchange, the Sparks part ways with 2019 first round pick Kalani Brown who averaged 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game her rookie year.

“We thank Kalani Brown for her contributions to the Sparks organization and wish her nothing but the best moving forward,” Holoman said.

Atlanta Dream Official Release

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Dream have acquired second-year center Kalani Brown from the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for Brittney Sykes and Marie Gülich, the team announced Monday.

Brown, a center from Louisiana, was drafted seventh overall by the Sparks in the 2019 WNBA Draft out of Baylor University. She played in 28 regular season games, averaging 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per contest. Her best performance of 2019 came against Atlanta on July 23, when she scored a season-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“Kalani was a player we targeted as an organization as a key piece to the puzzle,” Head Coach Nicki Collen said.  “While Kalani’s size is important on the boards and around the rim, she also has the ability to consistently step outside the lane and hit the face up shot. In a league full of exceptional centers, we believe we have added a player who has all the tools to be very successful in our system.  We are excited to welcome Kalani Brown and the entire Brown family to the Dream. “

Standing at 6-7, Brown instantly becomes the tallest player on the Dream’s 2020 roster. She has suited up for Xinjiang Magic Deer of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association this offseason, averaging 24.8 points and 11.2 rebounds in 28 contests. Brown was shooting an impressive 67.8% from the field and playing 29.3 minutes a game before the WCBA paused its season due to the Coronavirus.

“For us, this was a question of giving to get, and we need the size and skill that Kalani brings to the Dream,” President and General Manager Chris Sienko said. “We are in the midst of making changes to compete with the best in the league, something our fans and this city deserve.”

Prior to being drafted, Brown led the Baylor Bears to the 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. She finished her illustrious collegiate career ranked in the Bears top five in numerous categories including points, blocks, field-goal percentage, double-doubles free-throws made and field-goals made. She was named a three-time WBCA All-American and a two-time Second Team AP All-American.

Sykes was drafted by the Dream with the seventh overall selection in the 2017 WNBA Draft and went on to play three seasons in Atlanta. She played a total of 97 games (57 starts), averaging 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 24.2 minutes per game.

Gülich was acquired by Atlanta in a draft day trade with Phoenix in 2019, when the Dream sent their 11th overall selection, Brianna Turner, to the Mercury. Gülich played in 31 games with one start last season, averaging 2.7 rebounds in 11.2 minutes per game.

“We are grateful for what Brittney and Marie have contributed to our organization and wish them success in Los Angeles,” Sienko said.