Jan. 23, 2013
UCLA at ASU Friday Night
Fourth-ranked UCLA (2-0) will compete on the road for the first time this season, traveling to Arizona State (2-1) on Friday, Jan. 25 for a dual meet. The meet will take place at Wells Fargo Arena at 7 pm MT/6 pm PT.
In The Rankings
With the Bruins on a bye last week, three teams jumped ahead in the rankings, dropping UCLA from No. 1 to No. 4 with a season average of 196.788. UCLA retains the No. 1 national ranking on floor exercise with a 49.513 average and is ranked No. 2 on uneven bars (49.288), 10th on balance beam (48.913) and 12th on vault (49.075). Vanessa Zamarripa ranks in the Top 5 in the all-around (2nd, 39.575 average), bars (T-5th, 9.888), beam (T-4th, 9.900) and floor (1st, 9.963). Olivia Courtney ranks in the Top 20 in the all-around (T-19th, 39.225), vault (T-11th, 9.888) and floor (2nd, 9.938). The Bruins have three ranked in the Top 10 on bars (No. 2 Lichelle Wong, No. 5 Zamarripa and No. 10 Mattie Larson) and three in the Top 5 on floor (No. 1 Zamarripa, No. 2 Courtney and No. 5 Alyssa Pritchett). Danusia Francis ranks T-16th on beam.
Last Time Out
In UCLA's last competition Jan. 12, the Bruins posted a convincing 197.425-195.300 victory over Utah. Armed with a score of stuck landings on vault, the Bruins took a big lead after the first rotation and never looked back, scoring 49.275 or higher on all four events to post a national-best team total. Vanessa Zamarripa won the all-around with a 39.675 and captured first place on three events, winning uneven bars with a 9.975 and tying for first on balance beam with freshman teammate Danusia Francis (9.925), and with junior teammate Olivia Courtney on floor exercise (9.950).
Rookie Performers Shine
With UCLA needing to replace 12 routines from last year's NCAA Championships, many new faces are emerging to play key roles in 2013. Freshmen Sophina DeJesus and Danusia Francis have jumped right into competition, with each winning one event in the Bruins' two meets. DeJesus tied for first on uneven bars with a 9.9 in her collegiate debut against Southern Utah, and Francis was moved to the anchor position on balance beam vs. Utah and tied for first with a 9.925. A pair of sophomores who did not compete due to injuries a year ago have been strong competitors - Dana McDonald is averaging 9.813 on vault and 9.85 on floor in the leadoff position, and Sadiqua Bynum earned 9.8 on floor in the Bruins' last meet vs. Utah. Additionally, two other athletes who missed most of last season with injuries, are back - junior Sydney Sawa scored 9.8 on vault vs. Utah, and senior Lichelle Wong ranks No. 2 in the nation on bars with a 9.9 average.
Zamarripa, Courtney Honored by Pac-12
Senior Vanessa Zamarripa was named the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week for the second consecutive week, and junior Olivia Courtney earned her first-ever Pac-12 Special Performance of the Week award. Zamarripa won the all-around with a score of 39.675 and captured first-place honors on uneven bars (9.975), balance beam (9.925, tied for first) and floor exercise (9.95, tied for first). Courtney won vault for the second-straight meet (9.9) and matched her career-high with a 9.95 to tie for first on floor exercise. Zamarripa's Gymnast of the Week award was her seventh of her career, a new Pac-12 record.
Craddock Suffers Season-Ending Injury
Sophomore Ellette Craddock will be out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a sliced tendon on one of her left fingers, which was caused by a non-gymnastics-related accident. Craddock had scored well in exhibition performances on bars and beam in the season opener and was scheduled to be in the competitive lineup against Utah prior to the injury.
About The Sun Devils
Arizona State is coming off a tri-meet road victory during which it scored 194.350 to outscore San Jose State and Sacramento State. Sophomore Natasha Sundby ranks 18th in the nation on vault with an average of 9.875. The Sun Devils are coached by John Spini, who is in his 33rd year as head coach.
The Series With ASU
UCLA is 51-23 all-time against Arizona State and has not lost to the Sun Devils since Jan. 26, 2001 in Tempe, a streak of 23 consecutive wins. The Bruins won both meetings last year, with UCLA posting a 198.050-194.850 dual meet victory and then winning the Pac-12 Championship a month later.
De La Torre Returns Home
For the first time in her collegiate career, senior Monique De La Torre will finally have a chance to compete in front of her hometown crowd this weekend when the Bruins travel to Arizona State. The Bruins have not been to Tempe since 2009. De La Torre is from Glendale, Ariz. and graduated from Ironwood HS. She trained at Carter's Gymnastics and was Arizona's Junior Olympic Gymnast of the Year in 2008 after placing fourth in the all-around, tying for second on floor exercise and tying for sixth on uneven bars at the 2008 Level 10 Nationals. De La Torre, a first-team All-American on uneven bars in 2011, made her 2013 season debut Jan. 12 against Utah, scoring 9.825 on vault.
Eleven team members made the Director's Honor Roll for Fall Quarter (3.0 GPA in at least 12 quarter units) - Kaelie Baer, Monique De La Torre, Danusia Francis, Mattie Larson, Christine Peng-Peng Lee, Dana McDonald, Asi Peko, Samantha Peszek, Sydney Sawa, Lichelle Wong and Vanessa Zamarripa. In all, 364 UCLA student-athletes - 49% of enrolled student-athletes, made the Director's Honor Roll this past quarter.