If you're looking for the player who set the tone Friday in the Lynx's 93-76 victory over Washington at Xcel Energy Center, be careful.
It wasn't necessarily Maya Moore, who had a double-double by halftime, finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and an impressive level of aggressive play.
Though she was, of course, quite good.
And don't assume it was center Sylvia Fowles, who was an efficient 8-for-10 with 21 points, 15 rebounds, five blocked shots and two steals.
Though she was, again, dominant.
Consider Rebekkah Brunson. By the numbers? Not bad: Eleven points, four boards, a steal. But it was what she did on the other end as the Lynx improved to 10-1 and made up for last Saturday's defensively-challenged loss to Connecticut.
She made life rather miserable for Mystics star Elena Delle Donne. As the Lynx emerged as a dominant team back in 2011 — Friday the group of Moore, Brunson, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus tied the NBA record for most wins by four teammates at 121 — it has been Brunson who has usually guarded the other team's top player.
Friday she guarded Delle Donne. The 6-5 Mystics forward scored 17 points. But she needed seven free throws and 12 shots from the field to do it. After a good start, with 10 points and five rebounds in the first quarter, Delle Donne scored just seven points with three rebounds the rest of the way.
"It's all about heart and will,'' said Whalen, who had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. "It's all her effort and intensity. There is nobody like Brunson.''
After shooting better than 50 percent, scoring 90-plus points and losing to the Sun last game, the emphasis in practice all week was defense. Saturday's loss was just the third in 71 games since 2011 in which the Lynx had shot 50 percent.
Saturday the Mystics (7-5) never led; the Lynx started the game on a 9-0 run. Minnesota held Washington to 27.8 percent shooting in the first quarter, 37.5 percent in the first half. If there was a hiccup it was in the third, when the Mystics scored 25 points. Up as many as 18 early in the third, the Lynx let Washington, which was playing without coach Mike Thibault, who was at the funeral of his father, Frank, close within 11 entering the fourth. Midway through the fourth that lead was down to seven. But the Lynx closed the game on an 18-8 run.
Former Minneapolis South High School star Tayler Hill led the Mystics with 21 points.
"It's contagious the way Brunson plays,'' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "It's a relentlessness. It's a determination. Most people defend great players after they catch it. Rebekkah has the mind-set that you can't do things if you can't catch it.''
Here was Delle Donne after the first quarter: 0-for-1 with two points in the second, 1-for-3 with three points in the third, 1-for-2 with three points in the fourth. No wonder the Mystics could never catch up.
"I like that challenge,'' Brunson said. "It's fun, something I can do well. And it's going to help my team be in a better position to win the game."