UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Rebekkah Brunson believes the Minnesota Lynx have yet to play to their potential.
Opponents might beg to differ as the defending WNBA champions are off to their best start in franchise history.
Brunson had 14 points and 13 rebounds in an 85-72 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Friday night that gave the Lynx (6-0) the best start in franchise history.
Seimone Augustus had 23 points, six rebounds and two steals for Minnesota while Lindsay Whalen had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Minnesota has played all six of its games in 12 days with half of them on the road.
“I don’t think we’re playing our best,” Brunson said. “I still think we have a lot of things to work on.
“We haven’t had a lot of practice time, which is difficult when you have a schedule like this. You have to try to fine-tune things during games and figure them out on the fly, but we’re continuing to get better, and luckily we’ve been able to escape some of these games.”
Tina Charles had 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Connecticut (3-1) while Renee Montgomery added 16 points and Kara Lawson had 14 points and four assists.
Minnesota outrebounded Connecticut 43-34 and had a 12-4 advantage in the fourth quarter.
It isn’t easy outworking the Sun on the glass because of Charles.
“She’s one of the best rebounders in the league, but I’m hungry,” Brunson said. “We weren’t doing what we wanted to do (through three quarters) and we kept allowing them to get second chances.
“In order to cut that off, I knew I had to crash the boards hard and go try to get as many as I could. Go after it.”
Charles was scoreless in the fourth quarter and had just one rebound.
“When it came down to it, we didn’t bear down and get any rebounds,” Charles said. “Myself, I wasn’t boxing out on key plays. We can’t be doing that.”
Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said, “We didn’t get Tina enough shots down the stretch. You have to credit Minnesota a little bit for that because they front and backed her a little bit and made it tough to get it in, but we need to be a little more patient about it too.
The Lynx trailed 63-58 with under 8 minutes left in the game when they went on a 13-2 run. A steal and layup by Whalen gave the Lynx a 65-63 lead. Augustus followed with a pull-up jumper in transition, and then had a steal and a layup, to make it 71-65 with less than 5 minutes remaining.
Three turnovers by the Sun led to six points for the Lynx during the run.
“I just thought what we saw in the fourth quarter was a difference in the maturity level of the two teams right now,” Thibault said. “We’re close, but we’re not quite there yet.”
Lawson scored seven points in the third quarter, including a pull-up jumper with over 3 minutes left in the period that gave the Sun a 52-47 lead.
Maya Moore hit a 3-pointer with over a minute left for the final points of the quarter as Minnesota closed the deficit to 56-55.
The Lynx led 38-36 at halftime as Connecticut missed 20 of its first 25 shots. It shot 31.2 percent in the first half (15 of 48).
Minnesota had 12 turnovers in the half. The Sun had just four.
Devereaux Peters’ layup gave Minnesota a 34-25 lead with 2:33 left in the second quarter. Connecticut closed with an 11-4 run in which Charles had seven points.