"I am just playing. I am playing free, I am just trying to have some fun," Rebekkah Brunson said after Wednesday's Lynx practice.
At Seattle's expense in the last series. Brunson had double-doubles in the first two games and missed a third by one rebound.
Her stats against the Storm:
Game 1: 12 pts., 11 rebs. (all on defense), 2 steals, 2 blocks, 6x8 on FTs
Game 2: 22 pts, 15 rebs. (seven on offense), 1 steal
Game 3: 16 pts., nine rebounds (three on offense), 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal ... 8 x 12 on FGs
Little wonder Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve called RB -- or Spartacus by teammate Candice Wiggins -- the series MVP.
LYNX VS. LA
Los Angeles, the Lynx's next opponent in the West Finals, split four games with Minnesota. Each team won twice on its home court.
May 24 at Target Center, Lynx won 92-84
Seimone Augustus scored 25 points and Brunson 17. Candice Wiggins broke a late tie with a three-pointer, the start of a 10-2 run ... Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver had 23 points apiece, Nneka Ogwumike 20 and nine boards
July 5 at Staples Center, LA won 96-90
Toliver scored 29 points and Parker 28 ad also had 13 rebounds. Lynx closed 20-point deficit to five in closing seconds. ... Augustus had 18 points, Maya Moore 14 and Brunson 11 points and nine boards
Sept. 4 at Target Center, Lynx won 88-77
Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus each scored 23 points. Moore also had nine rebounds and a franchise-record seven steals. ... Alana Beard had 17 points and reserve guard Jenna O'Hea 15 for the Sparks.
Sept. 20 at Staples Center, LA won 92-76
LA's big two inside posts dominated this game, during which the Lynx rested some starters. Parker and Nneka Ogwumike each had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Beard had 13 points and five steals. ... Monica Wright led the Lynx with a season-high 19 points and Devereaux Peters had maybe her best game with 17 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
"[The Sparks] are tough," Brunson said. "They have been tough for us this season. If we do what we are supposed to do as a team and help each other out, then we can get it done."
Part of that "we" is soon-to-be 42-year-old Taj McWilliams-Franklin, the 6-2 post.
"Taj is working out there," Brunson said. "We have no doubt that Taj is going to be fine and she is going to do what she has to do defensively."
And Brunson is glad the game is at Target Center.
"That's what we have been working for all season," Brunson said. "To be able to come in and have home-court advantage. It is great to be able to start here, have the Target Center rocking behind us and get us going."
RB'S SHOOTING IMPROVES
Brunson and assistant coach Jim Petersen starting doing a routine after practice last year meant to improve her outside shot and have continued it. "It helps, putting myself in the best position to be able to hit those shots and knock them down," Brunson said. "And we will continue to work on them throughout the rest of the season.
"[It] enabled me to be prepared when I get the opportunity to shoot it. Shoot it and be confident."
Asked about her reaction to Lindsay Whalen's injury on Tuesday, Brunson said, "Man down, man up. When somebody is down we have a team where we have somebody can step in and continue to keep the flow of the game going. And continue to keep us successful."
Whalen took a nasty fall late in the opening period of the third game against Seattle. She went into the locker room for a while. Then came back with her left wrist heavily taped.
"[Whalen] brings something that I don't think anybody else can bring to this team," Brunson said. "She is, [as an] individual a great player. We do have a team where somebody goes down, we are still capable of getting it done."
On facing Los Angeles: "They are great offensively. And they are playing with a lot of pride and a lot of confidence. That's where we are going to try to lean on our defense and get some stops and get it done."
On the Sparks winning almost all the regular-season weekly and monthly awards in the West: "The individual stuff is nice. It is always good to get those things. But we are looking at something bigger than player of the week."
On how Lynx compare to LA: "They are a very talented offensive team. For sure, definitely. You can't take that away from them. But we are a talented team as well. It is going to be a battle, but the best team is going to win."
LOSING HOME COURT
When is a home-court advantage not really an edge?
Trick question? No. This is serious.
In the Los Angeles vs. San Antonio series last weekend, neither team played on its home court in the series.
Game One was at Southern Cal's Galen Center because of a "Batman Live" show at the Staples Center, where L.A. usually plays.
Games Two was at the Freeman Coliseum, not the AT&T Center, San Antonio's normal court. The Silver Stars were bumped by a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.
The Sparks won both games to sweep the series.
"I don't want to make excuses, they played under the same conditions," said guard Becky Hammon of San Antonio was quoted as saying in an Associated Press story. "The one thing I will say, as shooter, the lighting is very dark in "Freeman]. We definitely would have liked to play at the AT&T Center.
"It wasn't what cost us the game, but it would have been nice. We worked all season for the most important game and it would have been nice to be at home."
The Sparks won the first game 93-86, the second 101-94.
* When Connecticut beat New York 75-62 on Saturday to win that Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Liberty scored the game's first 12 points, the winning Sun the last 14.