By Charles Hallman
For the record, the best rebounder at the downtown Minneapolis pro basketball arena is not a Minnesota Timberwolves player but instead Minnesota Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson.
Statistically speaking, she was the league’s second-best rebounder last summer, and Brunson currently leads the W in caroms this year. But in all actuality, she is the best par none.
“I think what separates Brunson, who obviously has a nose for the ball, from [other players] is the relentless nature that she goes after it,” notes Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve. “She is athletic and can go up and get it, but for me, it’s the way she goes after it and how she wants it.”
The word “Beast” is the oft-used adjective coaches around the league easily say whenever asked to describe the 6’-2” eighth-year player from Georgetown, who was chosen by Minnesota in the 2009 WNBA Dispersal Draft after Sacramento, the team that drafted her as the 10th overall player in the 2004 regular draft, had folded. Brunson finished her first season with the Lynx as one of only eight players ever to average a double-double over a full WNBA season.
The 2011 WNBA All-Star Bronson had 20 points and nine rebounds for the West team, has won two Player of the Week honors thus far this season, and was the first Lynx player ever named Western Conference Player of the Month for June. Brunson opened the 2011 season with six straight double-doubles, which tied a league record shared by now- retired Lisa Leslie (2003) and current Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker (2010).
Against Phoenix on July 13, Brunson grabbed her 1,000th career defensive rebound, becoming the 25th player in WNBA history to do so. Last season, she surpassed the 2,000-point mark and should reach the 250-game plateau later this season as well.
Through the month of July, Brunson also leads her club and the league in individual single-game rebound superlatives with five — and she has another superlative in field goals made as well.
Brunson’s .585 field goal percentage thus far leads the league.
“She is in a class by herself,” surmises Reeve of her club’s “chairwoman of the boards.”
In case you missed it…
When twice asked by a reporter if the NBA lockout presents any “uncertainty” for her league, WNBA President Laurel Richie said, “No.”
“None at all?” repeated the reporter. “No,” again said Richie during her “state of the W” address at this year’s All-Star Game in San Antonio on July 23rd.
“I can help,” said retired player Lisa Leslie, one of the league’s Top 15 all-time players, after the special halftime ceremony in which she and the other members were introduced and honored.
“I feel that it is more the duty of the players that are retired now [to help ensure the WNBA’s survival]. It’s our obligation to help bring in more sponsorship and support. In order for us to survive, we need support — whether it’s corporate support [or] fan support, we’re going to continue to build. I think we’re all responsible to make sure [that] we survive because it’s not our fault that we were born girls.
“We want to play, too, and we should have a platform to play,” Leslie pointed out.
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