One day after seeing the worst but hoping for the best, the Cal women's basketball team received some uplifting news Monday regarding the health of junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson.

Gray-Lawson landed awkwardly on her left knee just before halftime of Sunday's 71-56 loss at UCLA, but an MRI on Monday confirmed the original diagnosis of a sprain. Both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments were intact, and Gray-Lawson was listed as day-to-day. Her return for Thursday's run-in with No. 18 Arizona State is not out of the question.

That's positive news, given what's on the line in the coming weeks.

The setback to the Bruins cost the Bears a share of the lead in the Pac-10 and dropped them into a second-place with the Sun Devils with just two regular-season games remaining before the start of the conference tournament. Cal also fell from fourth to ninth in the weekly Associated Press poll.

Stanford, the eight-time defending champion and ranked No. 2 in the new AP poll, moved into sole possession of first place, leaving Cal with some work to do if it is to claim its first Pac-10 regular-season title.

Losing Gray-Lawson for the season would have been a huge blow to an already depth-strapped Bears team. Gray-Lawson, who sat out the 2006-07 season with a torn ACL in her right knee, is averaging 12.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. She had 22 points in Thursday's 66-64 win at USC.

Contact Jennifer Starks at jstarks@bayareanewsgroup.com.