ASU's Turner Thorne and Three Pac-10 Players win Gold at World University Games

July 13, 2009

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Mentored by Arizona State’s Charli Turner Thorne, Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen, and California’s Alexis Gray-Lawson led the United States to a gold medal at the Women’s World University Games over the weekend. Averaging 33.1-point margin of victories in the event, the U.S. defeated Russia in the title game, 83-64.

'I'm really proud of this team,' said USA and Arizona State University head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'They stayed tough, kept working hard. These are some of the best college players in the country, and they showed it tonight. That Russian team has been playing together for years. For these young ladies to come together in a couple of weeks, be so responsive to what we asked them to do as coaches, to give everything they have for their country, that was awesome.'

The U.S. broke the game open in the third quarter, after leading, 39-31 at the break.

'The biggest thing was that we stuck together the whole game,' Jeanette Pohlen (Brea, Calif.) said. 'We were only up by about, I think, eight at halftime. We talked about sticking to them on defense, digging deep and giving everything we've got. It's our last game, the last time we get to play together. It's been a great trip. It's exciting to come home with the gold.'

Kayla Pedersen (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) had 11 points and nine rebounds as a starter in the medal game. Pohlen was also in the starting lineup, handing out a team-high five assists.

The U.S. opened the World University Games on July 1 with a 115-30 thumping of France, then followed up with wins over Great Britain (93-59), Serbia (84-50), Poland (75-67), Czech Republic (115-78) and Australia (81-66), before concluding with a gold-medal win on July 11.

Pedersen averaged 7.3 points  and 6.4 rebounds per game in the tournament, while shooting 89.5 percent from the charity stripe and starting four games. Alexis Gray-Lawson (Oakland, Calif.) contributed 7.9 ppg and earned three starts, while shooting a team-high 47.1 percent from behind the three-point line. Pohlen was a starter in six games. She was second on the team with 21 assists, shot 42.3 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent from three-point range and made all six of her free throw attempts.

Gray-Lawson was also elected by the U.S. World University Games team delegation to represent the United States as the USA’s flag bearer for the 2009 World University Games. In doing so, she led the U.S. delegation, which included the U.S. men’s team, into the Opening Ceremonies which included 88 different countries.

USA Basketball women's teams have participated in 15 World University Games tournaments and collected a record seven golds, six silvers and one bronze medal. Since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled an 89-15 record.

For more information, visit USA Basketball’s official site at

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