March 1, 2013
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Sixth-ranked UCLA finished a grueling three-meet road stretch with a 197.075-196.375 loss at fourth-ranked Alabama on Friday evening. The Bruins led at the halfway mark but could not hold on to the lead after a shaky performance on floor exercise. Vanessa Zamarripa won two events, capturing first place on vault (9.95) and uneven bars (9.9).
The two six-time NCAA champions traded leads in the first three rotations. Alabama assumed the lead after rotation one, scoring 49.275 on vault to UCLA's 49.05 on bars. The Bruins were led on bars by Zamarripa's 9.9 and a 9.85 from Sophina DeJesus.
UCLA took over the lead after the second rotation, 98.4-98.275 with a season-high-tying 49.35 on vault. The Bruins got three 9.9+ scores in the back half of the lineup, with Kaelie Baer earning a career-high 9.9, Olivia Courtney matching her season-best with a 9.9, and Zamarripa scoring 9.95. Alabama, meanwhile, posted a 49.0 on bars, with its highest score being its leadoff 9.85.
A 48.825 floor score in rotation three dropped the Bruins back into second place after Alabama scored 49.35 on beam. UCLA had a few stumbles from two normally reliable tumblers in DeJesus, who scored 9.6 after two short landings, and Zamarripa, who scored 9.2 after a fall on her first attempt at a double layout in competition in three years. Courtney had the Bruins' best score with a 9.875, and Alyssa Pritchett contributed a 9.85. The Bruins also had scores of 9.775 from Dana McDonald and 9.725 from Sadiqua Bynum.
Trailing by four-tenths heading into the final rotation, UCLA fought through adversity to score 49.15 on balance beam. After leadoff performer Baer's first fall of the season, the Bruins did not buckle under the pressure. Lichelle Wong followed Baer with a 9.775. DeJesus brushed off her floor stumbles to score 9.85. Larson earned 9.9 for the second consecutive week, Francis scored 9.85, and Zamarripa earned 9.775 to get the Bruins to a final team score of 196.375. Alabama captured the meet victory with a 49.45 on floor exercise, however, thanks in large part to a pair of 9.95 scores.
UCLA (7-3) finishes up the regular season slate with a pair of home meets on Mar. 10 vs. Michigan, California and Iowa State and on Mar. 17 vs. Arkansas. Both meets have a 2 pm start time and will take place in Pauley Pavilion.