MINNEAPOLIS – Of all the eye-popping statistics from the Indiana Fever’s Game 1 win over the Minnesota Lynx’s, perhaps the one that sticks out the most was an individual statistic. And it appeared in the Lynx boxscore.
Rebekkah Brunson, zero offensive rebounds. Yes, the all-time leader in playoff offensive rebounds was held to zero on Sunday afternoon.
It’s surprising, sure, but it shouldn’t be too startling, given the message preached by Fever head coach Stephanie White prior to the series. She stressed the importance of keeping Brunson off the glass and limiting the Lynx’s second chance opportunities.
Fever forward Tamika Catchings had the task of finding Brunson when the ball was in the air, and she won that matchup Sunday afternoon.
“[Rebekkah] Brunson was a big test for me tonight getting to the boards,” Catchings said postgame. “That takes a lot of energy out of me.”
As the dust settled and Minnesota’s sights turned to Game 2, head coach Cheryl Reeve was adamant that her glass-hounding forward must be more assertive Tuesday night.
“Rebekkah held herself to zero offensive rebounds,” Reeve said. “She needs to go in there and get offensive rebounds like she wants them, the same way that Tamika Catchings went to the glass like she wanted it every possession. … No offense to Catchings and the job and the assignment that she has. Don’t want to downplay that at all, because Catchings was pretty focused on what she had to do, but I thought Rebekkah was largely responsible.”
“We knew that they were going to try to do that,” Brunson added. “We knew that that was going to probably be their gameplan, but our gameplan was to let some other people get in there and get those, if they want to focus their energy on us. I think they played a good game.”
Now the Lynx are in a position where a large part of the pressure rests firmly on their shoulders. A pivotal Game 2 is set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN 2, and Brunson and Reeve are well aware of the task that stands in front of them.
The Fever will be looking to take a 2-0 lead back to their home court. Minnesota is looking to get back to what it does best and even the series as it shifts to Indianapolis.
“We just have to keep playing our game,” Brunson said. “We can’t really worry too much about what they’re trying to do or what they’re trying to force us into. We just have to be determined at doing what we need to do and imposing our will.”