April 6, 2013
Columbus, Ohio - UCLA placed second at the NCAA Columbus Regional at St. John Arena at The Ohio State University on Saturday evening to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which are being held at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion Apr. 19-21. The Bruins scored 196.95, while first-place LSU scored 197.275.
The Bruins began competition on vault with a team score of 49.225. UCLA received a solid score of 9.8 from Alyssa Pritchett to lead off, followed by a pair of 9.775s from Monique De La Torre and Lichelle Wong and a 9.825 from Kaelie Baer. Olivia Courtney stuck a big Yurchenko layout full vault for a 9.925 to post her sixth consecutive 9.9+ score on the event. Vanessa Zamarripa closed with a 9.9 to help the Bruins grab the lead after the first rotation. Host team Ohio State was close behind in second place with a 49.0, followed by North Carolina State (48.8) and Central Michigan (48.65).
After sitting out the second rotation on a bye, the Bruins scored 49.05 on uneven bars rotation three, led by a 9.875 by Zamarripa and a 9.85 by Sophina DeJesus. LSU took over the lead over UCLA (98.325-98.275) at the halfway mark, however, after scoring 48.975 on bars and 49.35 on beam, with Arizona close behind with 98.200.
With Arizona breathing down their necks, a strong balance beam rotation was imperative, and Baer delivered perhaps her most important routine of the season thus far, scoring 9.875 to lead off. Wong followed with a 9.8, and DeJesus earned a career-high 9.9 to continue the momentum. After a 9.825 from Courtney, all was looking well for a big beam score until Zamarripa's foot slipped off the beam on her dismount, causing her to fall on her landing. With the pressure on, freshman Danusia Francis came through beautifully with a 9.85 to give UCLA a 49.25 on beam and a three-event total of 147.525.
Arizona, meanwhile, fell further behind, scoring 48.7 on uneven bars and 49.15 on beam to finish with a final score of 196.1, while LSU extended its lead by scoring 49.5 on floor. Headed into the final rotation, the Bruins needed to score 48.55 on floor to move ahead of Arizona, and with all six routines scoring 9.85 or higher, UCLA did more than enough to advance to the NCAA Championships, scoring 49.425. DeJesus led off with a 9.85, and Sadiqua Bynum tied her career-best with a 9.85. Zamarripa, Pritchett and Courtney each scored 9.9, and Sydney Sawa closed with a season-high 9.875 to give UCLA a final score of 196.95. LSU finished in first place with 197.275. Arizona was third with 196.1, followed by Ohio State (196.05), North Carolina State (195.275) and Central Michigan (194.925).
Courtney won the all-around, tying for first place with LSU's Jessie Jordan with a score of 39.45, and also tied for first on vault with a 9.925. It was Courtney's second NCAA Regional all-around title; she won the NCAA Athens Regional as a freshman in 2011.
Also qualifying for the NCAA Championships with top two finishes at Regionals were Oklahoma, Stanford, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Alabama, Utah, Georgia and Arkansas. Championship tickets are on sale now at the UCLA Central Ticket Office and Ticketmaster. Click here for more information on tickets. The semifinals take place on Friday, Apr. 19 at 12 pm PT and 6 pm PT. The top three teams from each semifinal advance to the Super Six Team finals on Saturday, Apr. 20 at 4 pm. The Championships conclude on Sunday, Apr. 21 at 1 pm with the Individual Event Finals.