April 14, 2000
Boise, ID - UCLA won its second NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championship Friday night with a team total of 197.3. The Bruins hit 24 for 24 routines for the second consecutive night. The NCAA title is UCLA's second in four years. They last won the title in 1997. It is also UCLA's 81st NCAA title (third this school year) and 101st national title.
The Bruins started the meet on the floor exercise, registering a 49.375, with all six gymnasts hitting their routines. Malia Jones and Kristin Parker started off with 9.85s. Mohini Bhardwaj totaled a 9.9, followed by Onnie Willis' 9.75, Lena Degteva's 9.875 and Heidi Moneymaker's 9.9. The floor score put UCLA in the lead after one rotation, ahead of Nebraska (49.15), Utah (49.0) and Michigan (48.1).
UCLA moved to the vault for the second rotation and scored four 9.9s (Parker, Degteva, Bhardwaj and Moneymaker). Willis' 9.85 was the other counted score, bringing the Bruin vault total to 49.45 and their two-event total to 98.825, ahead of Utah's 98.125.
While the Bruins were on a bye in rotation three, Alabama (98.425) and Nebraska (98.4) pulled closer with strong vault and bars sets, respectively. Utah dropped down to fourth, with Georgia fifth (97.825) and Michigan sixth (97.375).
On bars in rotation four, a 9.9 from Degteva and a 9.95 from Bhardwaj brought the Bruins a solid 49.35 team score and a three-event total of 148.175, seven-tenths ahead of second-place Utah.
The Bruins ended their night on the balance beam, known as the make-or-break event. Thompson led off with a career-high tying 9.8 and was followed by scores of 9.775 by Parker, 9.75 from Jones, 9.85 from Moneymaker, 9.825 from Degteva and a 9.875 from Bhardwaj, for a team total of 49.125 on the beam. Utah, meanwhile, registered a 49.4 on vault for a final team total of 196.875, .475 behind the Bruins.
After finishing their meet on a bye in rotation six, the Bruins sat in their locker room to await their fate. Their closest competitors needed more than 49.725 to tie. None of the remaining four teams came close, and UCLA walked away with the second national title in school history.
"One thing Lena and I talked about earlier was that we didn't feel nervous," said Moneymaker. "It was totally different feeling. We felt so confident."
"We worked so hard," said Degteva. "We didn't work on just staying on the apparatus, we worked on every little detail. We deserved it all the way."
UCLA's All-American all-arounders sizzled again, with Bhardwaj scoring 39.625 (tied for highest mark of the night), Moneymaker scoring 39.525, Degteva recording a 39.5, and Parker setting a new career-high with a 39.3.
The meet will be televised by CBS on Sunday, April 23 at 10:00 am Pacific time.
NCAA Championships - Team Finals Team: 1) UCLA, 197.3, 2) Utah, 196.875, 3) Geogia, 196.8, 4) Nebraska, 196.725, 5) Alabama, 196.5, 6) Michigan, 195.725.