BERKELEY – California forward Reshanda Gray has been in Kazan, Russia, with the United States World University Games team since Monday, July 1, and the Los Angeles native has taken every opportunity to enjoy her first experience outside of the United States.
First things first, Gray has done well on the court for USA, averaging 6.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in just 9.0 minutes per game to help the United States complete preliminary play with a perfect 3-0 record to advance to the quarterfinals at the top of Group B. One note that California fans will cherish is that the Golden Bear has led the United States in field goal percentage by shooting at a .900 clip (9-of-10) through the three games.
Gray credits the guard play for helping her become so efficient with the ball in Kazan. As a team, the United States has dished out 74 assists – an average of nearly 25 assists per game – in victories against Mali, Czech Republic and Brazil.
“I feel that we have really great guards,” Gray said, “and if you run the floor, 99.9% of the time they will reward you for your hard work. So just running the floor (has helped me be successful). The first three games were a great experience for me and the team. I really enjoyed playing against different countries like Czech Republic, Mali and Brazil. It feels amazing to be able to represent my country. I am so blessed because not all are able to do that, so I feel honored.”
Two of those guards Gray mentioned have also made a strong connection with her off the court. Since arriving in Kazan, Gray has become close with Louisville guard Shoni Schimmel and Central Michigan guard Crystal Bradford. They along with the rest of the team have spent a lot of time sightseeing and touring the city. The experiences made the long trip from Colorado Springs to Kazan worth it.
“This trip has been very unique in its own way,” Gray said of travelling to Russia. “It definitely was an unforgettable 36 hours of traveling to get here!! But I’ve met a lot of great people here and I’m looking forward to doing whatever I have to do to help us win three more games and get a gold medal. I’m going to have to do everything I did to get myself here, continue to cheer on my team, continue to listen and continue to play defense.”
For more photos of Reshanda's time in Russia, check out the photo gallery by CLICKING HERE.
The United States will next take on Sweden in the quarterfinals Friday at 10:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET). The Swedes finished second in Group A with a 69-48 win over Poland, a 95-21 win over Mongolia and a 74-68 loss to Group A winners Russia.
World University Games
The USA has been placed in Group B for the 2013 World University Games and proceeded with wins on July 8 against Mali (120-32) at the Olymp Sport Hall (capacity: 800), Czech Republic (101-61) on July 9 at the Miras Sport Complex (capacity: 1,000) and Brazil (105-75) on July 10 at the Miras Sport Complex. 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 Orleans, La.)
Shoni Schimmel – G – Louisville (Mission, Ore.)
Odyssey Sims – G – Baylor (Irving, Texas)