Cuba Edges USA Women, 3-2, At World Grand Prix

July 12, 2004

Bangkok, Thailand - Yumilka Ruiz scored a team-high 19 points to lead five players in double-figures as Cuba defeated the USA women's national volleyball team, 3-2, on the second day of action at the World Grand Prix Saturday afternoon in Nimiboot Hall.

Ruiz had 17 kills and two aces in the 23-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory that improved Cuba to 2-0 in Pool A.

Yaima Ortiz, Liana Mesa and Dulce Tellez scored 14 points apiece while Zoila Barros added 12 points for Cuba, which has won the gold medal at the last three Olympic Games (1992, 1996 and 2000).

Logan Tom scored a match-high 25 points and Tayyiba Haneef added 21 points to lead Team USA, which fell to 1-1 in pool play.

Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) had 23 kills, one block and one ace while Haneef (Laguna Hills, Calif.) posted 18 kills, two aces and one block for the United States, which closes out the first week of pool play on Sunday with a match against Thailand.

'We had a tough match,' said Tom. 'We had a chance to beat Cuba, but we let our chances slip away. I'm a bit upset with the loss, but it's just one match.'

Keba Phipps (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La.) added six points apiece while Wiz Bachman (Lakeville, Minn.) and Tara Cross-Battle chipped in with five points each as Team USA saw its overall record drop to 11-8 on the year.

In other Pool A action on Saturday, Thailand came back to beat Korea in five sets.

This year's Grand Prix, the premier annual women's competition that features many of the best teams in the world, will serve as the final pre-Olympic competition for Team USA before it begins play in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, on Aug. 14.

The 12-team Grand Prix will feature 10 of this year's 12 Olympic teams. In fact, six of Team USA's nine scheduled pool-play matches will be against teams heading to Greece next month, including four matches against teams in its Olympic pool (Cuba, China, Germany and Russia).

The 12-team field is broken into three pools that will change slightly on each weekend of pool play (July 9-11, July 16-18 and July 23-25). The top five ranked teams after pool play will advance to the championship round along with the host team, Italy, from July 27-Aug. 1.

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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