Rebound machine keeps on chugging

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ RAUGUSTOVIZ@STARTRIBUNE.COM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2012 - 7:53 AM

A relentless post player with three double-doubles in the playoffs, Rebekkah Brunson is set to "get done what we have to get done."

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Rebekkah Brunson blocked the shot of of the Storm's Sue Bird.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Maya Moore jokingly calls her a machine.

Candice Wiggins, another Lynx teammate, refers to her in a recent video as Spartacus, the legendary gladiator who led a slave rebellion against ancient Rome.

To Matt Brunson, his twin sister is simply Bekky. He is proud of her and considers her talents underrated.

Rebekkah Brunson, 30, in her ninth WNBA season, is the leading rebounder in this year's playoffs, averaging 11.3 boards and 16 points.

If she has another double-double when the Lynx face Los Angeles on the road Sunday afternoon, it will be her fourth in five playoff games. The Lynx lead the Sparks 1-0 in the best-of-three Western Conference Finals.

"We are determined to get done what we have to get done," Brunson said.

Even though she is a smaller post player at 6-2, Brunson is known for being relentless chasing a rebound.

"I will take credit for that. I remember all the times I beat her up playing basketball," said Matt Brunson, speaking figuratively. "I never broke anything, but I was never soft on her."

Nor were his male buddies. His sister was the only girl in their neighborhood games on dirt courts in Oxon Hill, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

"We did everything together," said Matt Brunson, the older twin by two minutes. "If you got me, you got Bekky. It was never one of us."

The twins and an older brother and sister were raised by a single mother, Lucy Kuhn. "We played sports and stayed away from trouble," Matt Brunson said. "Our way out was to play sports."

Matt joined the Army for six years and now lives in San Diego and is training to be a chef. His sister became a pro basketball player.

"I knew that was her calling in high school," Matt Brunson said. "Nobody could score, rebound or defend like her."

She was not that good when she started playing at 14, he said, but she always could jump and improved with time.

"I was more athletic," he said. "She took [basketball] a lot more seriously. And her coaches were on her. If it was not AAU, it was the Boys' and Girls' Club or high school. She was always playing."

Georgetown was her college choice, and she is still the Hoyas' all-time leading rebounder. Sacramento took her with the 10th overall pick in the 2004 WNBA draft and she played six seasons there. The Monarchs won the WNBA title in 2005, then folded in late 2009. The Lynx took her second overall in the dispersal draft of Sacramento players.

Brunson won her second WNBA championship last year with the Lynx. Now she could be one of the keys to a Lynx repeat.

She scored 14 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds -- five on each end -- in the Lynx's 94-77 victory over L.A. on Thursday in the first game of their series.

"Rebekkah has been huge for us, so it was nice to see her continue," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She is really locked into what we are trying to get from her both defensively and offensively.

"In the first half, she was big [with] her hustle and play around the basket. We knew she would be available versus some switching that [the Sparks] were doing. She had some guards on her down there, and she was really hungry for the ball and made some great finishes."

Brunson had eight points as the Lynx outscored the Sparks 32-16 in the decisive second quarter. The Lynx's halftime lead was 17 points.

"We never gave up, we never gave in," Brunson said. "[The Sparks] crash the board pretty hard. We knew that it was going to be a key for us to limit that."

The Lynx dominated Los Angeles 20-2 in second-chance points, and 37-25 in rebounds.

"We were physical with L.A. and we fought," Brunson said. "We battled them."

Said Sparks center Candace Parker, "We know we have to go in the paint and box [Brunson] out on every possession."

Her twin and other opponents have tried doing that for years.

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