Former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year done for season

Updated: December 13, 2006, 8:20 PM ET
Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. -- California point guard Alexis Gray-Lawson will miss the rest of the season for the Golden Bears (No 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) with torn knee ligaments that will require surgery next month.

Gray-Lawson, last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, tore both the anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus in her right knee Sunday. She was injured with 14:12 remaining in Cal's 73-65 victory at Kansas when she landed awkwardly after making a layin. Doctors initially thought she had only hyperextended the knee, but more damage was detected in follow-up examinations after the team returned home.

This is a big blow for the Bears (8-1), who are off to their best start in 14 years and hold the program's highest national ranking. They are only one spot behind archrival Stanford this week, a sign of significant progress for Cal.

"That throws a little bit of a wrench in things to say the least," coach Joanne Boyle said. "It's just devastating. The point guard is the head of the body. We had our identity established a little bit and now we're trying to work our way through that. Something's going to change. It's a journey ahead of us we're going to figure out together."

Gray-Lawson will have surgery in two or three weeks, once swelling in the knee has subsided. A sophomore from nearby Oakland, she started all 30 games last season, averaging 14.6 points and a team-leading 2.7 assists. She was the team's third-leading scorer this season at 10.6 points per game and top in assists with a 3.1 average.

Boyle has been impressed with her team's two practices without its floor leader.

"It's really sad," center Rama N'diaye said. "We have great players and we will work more to be able to pick it up -- and play for her also."

The Bears begin their conference schedule Dec. 20 at UCLA.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press