Is she a long hair or a short hair? If she's a long hair prone to matting, try working them out with your fingers while you are petting her, and saving the brush for the final step.
If she's a short hair, try putting the brush next to her but not using it on her. Once she gets used to the brush's presence, try brushing her once or twice while you are holding her and she's calm.
My cat has a love/hate relationship with the brush. She always tries to bite it, however she purrs the entire time I brush her. I know she likes it because she'll flip over and move around so I get into all the nooks and crannies with the brush. Weirdo cat.