May 19, 2013
BERKELEY - California forward Reshanda Gray is one of 12 athletes that has been selected to compete for the United States at the 2013 Women's World University Games, which was announced Sunday by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee after three days of trials that included 33 of the nation's top collegiate athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
The 2013 World University Games (WUGs) women's basketball competition will be held July 8-15 in Kazan, Russia. Organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and held every other year, the WUGs is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born 01/01/89 through 12/31/95). The USA Basketball women's team will regroup in Colorado Springs for training June 25-July 1 before traveling to Russia to compete.
Gray, a rising junior from Los Angeles, Calif., averaged 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in less than 20 minutes of action. An All-Pac-12 selection as a freshman, the 6'3 forward impressed the national pundits with her defense and strong offensive play that was especially evident in the NCAA Tournament. In her lone start of the season against Utah, Gray put up 19 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting. She finished fourth in the Pac-12 with her .510 field goal percentage.
"(I'm) just very thankful and blessed to be here," Gray said of being selected. "I'm one of the top 33 college players in the country, just being able to be here and try. I just want to cry right now. I'm so emotional because we worked so hard, and I just give props to my teammate Gennifer (Brandon, who was also at the Team Trials over the weekend). She definitely pushed me, and I just give props to everybody back home for sending good vibes and good luck wishes."
Gray previously had experience competing for USA at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship where she averaged 6.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg to help USA claim the gold medal. Six years ago, Gray also participated in the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival, where she helped the Red Team to a 3-2 record and third-place finish while averaging 4.2 ppg and 3.8 rpg.
The team will be coached by Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale along with assistant coaches Brian Giorgis (Marist College) and Coquese Washington (Penn State University). Additionally, Matt Corkery (American University), Bobbie Kelsey (University of Wisconsin) and Matilda Mossman (University of Tulsa) will serve as court coaches during the trials.
World University Games
The USA has been placed in Group B for the 2013 World University Games and will open at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) on July 8 against Belarus, followed by Czech Republic at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) on July 9 and its final preliminary-round opponent, Brazil, at 4:30 a.m. (EDT) on July 10. Following the preliminary round, the first and second placed teams in each of the four pools will advance to the medal quarterfinals to compete for 1st-8th places, while the remaining teams will compete for 9th-24th places. The quarterfinals will be played on July 12, with the semifinals on July 13 and the gold medal game on July 15.
USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team Roster
Crystal Bradford - G - Central Michigan (Detroit, Mich.)
Aaryn Ellenberg - G - Oklahoma (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Reshanda Gray - F - California (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Cassie Harberts - F - USC (San Clemente, Calif.)
Bria Hartley - G - Connecticut (North Babylon, N.Y.)
Jordan Hooper - F - Nebraska (Alliance, Neb.)
Tricia Liston - G - Duke (River Forest, Ill.)
Ariel Massengale - G - Tennessee - Bolingbrook, Ill.)
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - F - Connecticut (Anaheim Hill, Calif.)
Theresa Plaisance - F - LSU (New Orlenas, La.)
Shoni Schimmel - G - Louisville (Mission, Ore.)
Odyssey Sims - G - Baylor (Irving, Texas)
Reshanda Gray QUOTES
What was your initial reaction when they called your name?
I was nervous. I was having butterflies. I was locked arms with my teammate Gennifer [Brandon], and I was just telling her, `Make the team or not, this is just a learning experience for us to get better.' We're just very thankful and blessed to be here. I'm one of the top 33 college players in the country, just being able to be here and try. I just want to cry right now. I'm so emotional because we worked so hard, and I just give props to my teammate Genn. She definitely pushed me, and I just give props to everybody back home for sending good vibes and good luck wishes.
Would you say this is one of the biggest honors of your basketball career?
You know, I would say it's top three, one of the big honors of my basketball career.
You played on the 2010 USA FIBA Americas U18 Championship Team. Do you feel the same excitement now that you did back then?
I'm more excited because the competition here was just over the top, and it was definitely challenging. I'm so happy that I pushed myself, and the people here were so nice and helpful. They were just welcoming.
Did you feel pretty confident after the three days that you would hear your name called?
I just did me. I just did whatever I did to get me here in the first place. So yeah, I just left everything out on the floor. Make the team or not, I'm still going to leave with a big smile on my face.
What are you hoping to bring most to this team?
I'm just hoping to bring whatever the coaches need me to do. If they need me to make waters, I'll make waters. If they need me to go in there and play defense, whatever, I'm here. I'm here with the S on my chest.
Have you ever been to Russia?
No. I've never left the country, so I'm a little nervous. But I'm definitely excited.
You going to take a lot of pictures?
Yes! Of course I will. I hope the Internet still works. I hope I get Wi-Fi.
What are your plans until you come back to start training camp in five weeks?
For a few days, I'm going to go home and visit my family. Then, I'm going to head back to school where I start summer school and summer workouts with lovely Hank, my strength and conditioning coach, and (California assistant coach) Katy Steding who also was a part of the USA team. So, I'm looking forward to it.