Gray-Lawson Scores Nine in USA Victory over Poland

July 5, 2009

BELGRADE, SERBIA -

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An 11-0 run that stretched from the end of the first half into the first two minutes of the third period helped the USA Women's World University Games Team (4-0) fight off a resilient Poland (2-2) team and remain undefeated with a 75-67 win on Sunday evening in Belgrade, Serbia.

Tina Charles (Connecticut / Jamaica, N.Y.) recorded a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds; Danielle McCray (Kansas / Olathe, Kan.) also scored 12 points; and three U.S. players, Alexis Gray-Lawson (California / Oakland, Calif.), Jeanette Pohlen (Stanford / Brea, Calif.) and Kayla Pedersen (Stanford / Fountain Hills, Ariz.), contributed nine points.

Despite shooting 4-of-8 from 3-point in the first quarter, including two threes from Gray-Lawson, the USA was a dismal 1-of-11 from inside the arc in the first 10 minutes. Poland used its 50.0 shooting from the field (8-16 FGs) and a 13-7 rebounding advantage to remain within one point, 18-17, as the teams headed to the bench for the first break.

'I think we all knew that eventually there would come a time where we wouldn't be blowing everybody out,' Gray-Lawson said. 'We just have to suck it up and play our game.'

Jacinta Monroe (Florida State / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) put two points on the board just 15 seconds into the second period, but Poland had a response for every U.S. basket, and a three-point-play at 1:46 helped Poland tie the game at 32-32. With just 1:11 remaining before halftime, however, Pedersen converted on an offensive rebound and Pohlen followed with a 3-pointer to help the USA head to the locker rooms with a 37-32 lead.

The run continued into the third period, which the USA opened with another 3-pointer from Pohlen, who finished 3-of-4 from deep, and a three-point play from Charles, and Poland called a timeout at 8:43 with the score at 43-32.

The USA reached its biggest lead of the game, 48-32, in the third, but Poland strung together a 6-2 run to cut the gap to seven, 55-48.

Poland never relented and came within three points with a basket at 8:28 that brought the score to 57-54, but the USA responded to each attack. Led by six fourth-quarter points from Pedersen, the USA outscored Poland 20-19 in the fourth quarter to secure the 75-67 win.

The U.S. squad will face Preliminary Group D's No. 1 seed Czech Republic at 3:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. EDT) on Tuesday, July 7.

After each team plays two games against their crossover opponents, the top two finishing teams in Groups E and F will advance to the medal semifinals on July 9. The bottom two teams will play for 5th-8th place. Results from the preliminary round for advancing teams carry over into the second round standings.

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