April 19, 2013
Los Angeles - UCLA women's gymnastics advanced to its fourth-straight Super Six NCAA Team final, finishing in a tie for second place in the second semifinal on Friday evening. Alabama won the session with a score of 197.350, followed by UCLA and Oklahoma, who tied for second with a team score of 197.200. The Bruins will compete for their seventh NCAA title on Saturday at 4 pm.
UCLA, Alabama and Oklahoma will join Florida, LSU and Georgia, who advanced out of the first semifinal.
For Super Six, UCLA will start on bars, then beam, bye before floor, floor, and will vault in Rotation 5. The Bruins will have a bye for the sixth and final rotation of the session.
The Bruins opened the session on beam, scoring a 49.075 on the event. Freshman Danusia Francis scored a 9.90 in the anchor position to lead the way for UCLA, while classmate Sophina DeJesus posted a 9.825, and Lichelle Wong and Vanessa Zamarripa each turned in scores of 9.80. After the first rotation, UCLA stood in third place behind Michigan and Oklahoma.
Following the team's first bye, a focused Bruin squad returned to the floor exercise in Rotation 3. DeJesus led off with a 9.850, and Zamarripa got the Pauley Pavilion crowd onto their feet with a 9.900. The Bruins continued to hit their floor routines for big scores, as Alyssa Pritchett matched Zamarripa's 9.900. Junior Olivia Courtney rebounded from a disappointing beam routine with a resounding success on floor, scoring a meet-high-tying 9.950. UCLA turned in a team floor score of 49.450.
The momentum continued on vault, as the first four Bruins matched or topped their season-best scores. Kaelie Baer qualified for vault event finals with a career-high and meet-best 9.950. Lichelle Wong, Zamarripa and Courtney each posted a 9.900, and UCLA matched its best vault score of the season with a 49.500.
"When everyone was sticking their vaults, it pumped me up and inspired me to do really well," said Zamarripa. "Just being in Pauley and having a home crowd, every time we stuck our landing, the whole arena exploded. That rotation was inspiring."
After spending the fifth rotation on a bye before bars, UCLA finished with a 49.175 team score on bars in the final rotation to secure its spot in the Super Six finals. DeJesus had the team's top score on the event with a 9.90. Francis, Monique De La Torre and Zamarripa each posted a 9.825, and Courtney's 9.80 gave the Bruins enough to advance.
"We did great," said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. "We did phenomenally well. It felt like the Super Six from the moment we found out who was in our session. We knew we couldn't hold anything back. We put in some athletes who were really beat up, but if they hit, it would score half a tenth better. We had to take that chance. We had to leave it all on the floor tonight, and I'm thrilled we did."
Zamarippa, Courtney, Wong, and Baer qualified for event finals on vault. Francis qualified on beam, and Courtney qualified on floor.