Brunson Cements Legacy In Minnesota

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

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When most young basketball players grow up, they dream of drilling the game-winning 3-pointer, driving to the lane and finishing with a nifty reverse layup or "breaking" someone's ankles with a crazy Seimone Augustus-like crossover.

Rebounding, though? Well, that's not on the list of many lists of young players.


It's not at glitzy or glamorous. It's not on SportsCenter's Top-10 plays. It's overlooked by many.

Well, Lynx power forward Rebekkah Brunson doesn't care about any of that. In fact, she is one of the best rebounders in league history.

With her rebound with 3:34 remaining in the second quarter in last Sunday's win over the Phoenix Mercury, Brunson became the all-time leading rebounder in Lynx franchise history, surpassing Tamika Raymond.

"It means a lot because I think I pride myself on rebounding and what I can do to help this team achieve its goals as a group and I'm glad I achieved that milestone and hopefully I can add on to it," Brunson said.

Brunson has 2,240 rebounds for her career and with every game, she will add onto her legacy in a Lynx uniform. The scary thing is, Brunson has the record just midway through her fourth season with the team, at just 31 years old, there's a strong chance she will be adding onto the list for quite a while. As a member of the Lynx, she's averaged 9.3 rebounds per game.

This season, Brunson is right on pace with her career average with the Lynx, averaging 9.1 rebounds per game, which ranks tied for third in the league.

The former Georgetown star ranks 14th in WNBA history with 7.4 rebounds per game and 10th in total rebounds.

Rebounding, though. It seems simple. It's someone going up for the ball, grabbing it and coming down with it. That doesn't all that exciting nor hard, right?

But every basketball player knows that while size and strength help, rebounding has a lot to do with effort, hard work and being unselfish.

That right there pretty much defines the player Brunson is.

"Be aggressive. Sometimes you don't get them all," Brunson said about her strategy when rebounding. "Continue to go be aggressive and you just have to attack. It's not all about skill. There's some boxing out you have to learn, but you have to be hungry to go get it... I think the key to what I do as far as rebounding is concerned is not something we really go over in practice, it's just being aggressive, being determined and going to get it."

Assistant coach Jim Petersen has noticed this during his time as an assistant coach. He's worked closely with Brunson since 2008 and the coach they call "Jim Pete" knows a thing about being a post player.

Petersen played in the NBA from 1984 to 1992 and hauled in 2,354 rebounds during his career. He was a backup to NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, who finished with 13,747 rebounds in his career. So yeah, it's fair to say Petersen knows talent when he sees it.

"She's the hardest working player I've been around," Petersen said. "She has earned everything she's gotten. The fact that she's the franchise-leader in rebounding is not a surprise to me. Her effort in terms of everyday in game, in practice, when we are working individually, she goes 100 percent all the time."

Brunson isn't a one-dimensional player, though. Aside from being incredible on the glass and being an above-average post defender, Brunson is an offensive player who can take what the defense gives her and has an almost automatic elbow jump shot. That's a big reason why Brunson has shot 50 percent or better during the last two seasons.

"Nothing. Let it go, that's a shot I work on a lot so if they are going to give it to me I'm going to take it, I don't even have to think about it," Brunson said about what she thinks about when teams give her an open elbow shot.

Brunson will be making her third All-Star Game appearance this Saturday and for good reason.

In the team's 15th season, there have been few players who have cemented their legacy with the team like Brunson has, and done it as quickly as she has. That's what hard work does.

"There's a lot of people that come up to me and tell me Rebekkah Brunson is their favorite player so even though B.B. takes a backseat sometimes to 'Mone, Maya and Lindsay, I think a lot of, especially in Minnesota where this is a blue-collar, this is a hardworking community, where they really appreciate hard workers like Rebekkah Brunson."

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