Rebekkah Brunson: The Rebounding Machine
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Rebounds aren't talked about in the same fashion as scoring is. Fans are much more likely to talk about the player who scored 20 points than the player who hauled in 12 boards.
That's just how we have been programmed. Well, Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson is a rebounding machine and she doesn't really care if she gets any credit for it at all. In fact, she'd prefer that you don't notice.
"I'm really someone who really doesn't like the publicity," Brunson said. "It's something that I appreciate while being on this team. I just let them (her teammates) get all of it and I do my job and that's it."
The former Georgetown Hoya has averaged 9.4 rebounds per game during her four years in Minnesota, including a career-high 10.4 last season.
Just because Brunson rebounds so well, doesn't mean her offense doesn't exist. Brunson has averaged 10 or more points in six straight seasons and is on pace to average 11.6 this season, which would be the most she's averaged with the Lynx.
What's more impressive is the way she is scoring. In the last two seasons, Brunson has shot 50 percent or better and is on pace to shoot a career-best 55 percent this season. Previous to 2011, she had shot 50 percent or better just once in her career.
So what gives?
Every day after practice, Brunson works with assistant coach Jim Petersen on her shot from the elbow for about 20 minutes. It may not sound like much, but after a physical two hour practice, shooting 100 basketballs is the last thing a player wants to do, but Brunson knows it has to be done for her to remain an elite player.
"It's something I've always worked on with him," Brunson said. "Eventually they'll start to fall. If you put in the work it will eventually it will pay off... I've always tried to work on my outside shot before practice, after practice and before games."
This season, Brunson has been a road warrior. In two games on the road this season, Brunson has averaged 20 points and 15 rebounds per game. In fact, the team's first road game against Washington, Brunson scored 21 points and hauled in 17 rebounds on her way to winning the Western Conference Player of the Week.
At home, she's averaged six points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
"It's got to be coincidental but I'll certainly investigate and see what she's having on the road and get it imported here to Minneapolis," Reeve said. "She's been playing great on the road and we've needed it."
Brunson will get an opportunity to continue her solid road games as the Lynx travel to play Phoenix at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Earlier this season, Lynxbasketball.com named Brunson to the 15 Year Anniversary Team and for good reason.
Previous to her time in Minnesota, she spent six seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs after being drafted 10th overall in the 2004 draft. After the Monarchs suspended operations in the fall of 2009, the Lynx acquired Brunson with the second pick in the 2010 dispersal draft.
In Sacramento, Brunson helped the Monarchs win the 2005 WNBA Championship and named an All-Star in 2007.
In Minnesota's historic 2011 Championship run, Brunson averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Brunson has 940 rebounds in her four seasons with the Lynx which is good for second all time, 88 rebounds behind Tamika Raymond. Her 9.3 rebounds per game ranks first in team history. As far as career numbers go going up against the rest of the WNBA, her 7.3 rebounds per game is tied for the 13th most in league history and her 2,138 career rebounds rank 11th all-time.
Rebounding for Brunson, comes natural.
"I just try to be hungry and go after it," Brunson said. "I don't think about it before the game. It's something I naturally and instinctually do."
If the WNBA season ended now (which it won't, I promise you. Don't freak out. We are only five games it. We have at least 29 to go), Brunson would finish third in the league with 10.4 rebounds per game and fifth shooting 55.3 percent from the field.
After being named to the All-Star team in both 2010 and 2011, the 2012 Summer Olympics made three in a row unfeasible.
Brunson might not have the 3-point shot of Maya Moore, the bounce pass of Lindsay Whalen or the sweet stroke of Seimone Augustus, but she has her own thing going for her and it seems to be working just fine.
It might even earn her another All-Star appearance in 2013. Whether she makes it or not will be up to #LosLynx Nation. Click here to vote for Brunson to make her fourth career All-Star team.
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