UCLA's Title IX 40: Natasha Watley, Jamie Dantzscher
Oct. 16, 2012
UCLA Athletics continues its celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX with a series of profiles of UCLA's Title IX 40. This group of 40 Bruin women were game-changers in the Title IX era. Up next are NCAA champions and Olympic medalists Natasha Watley and Jamie Dantzscher.
Natasha Watley, Softball (2000-03)
Shortstop Natasha Watley capped her stellar collegiate career by leading UCLA to the 2003 NCAA Championship, earning her fourth consecutive first-team All-America honor, and winning the Honda-Broderick Cup as the nation's top collegiate female athlete.
During her senior season, Watley led the nation with 102 hits and was the team leader in batting average (.481) and stolen bases (35). She also recorded 10 home runs and 53 runs batted in en route to Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.
As a junior in 2002, she set a school record and led the nation with 112 hits to record the seventh-best single-season total in NCAA history.
On the career charts, Watley is UCLA's all-time leader in at-bats (878), runs scored (252, tied for seventh all-time in NCAA history), hits (395, third all-time in NCAA history), triples (tied for first with 21) and stolen bases (158 in 184 attempts). Her batting average (.450, tied for seventh all-time in NCAA history) is second in school history, and her 251 games played and 527 total bases are third on the Bruin career charts. She had over 100 hits in each of her last three seasons, directing the Bruins to three consecutive College World Series appearances, and led UCLA in hits and stolen bases all four years.
Watley made history in 2004 when she became the first African-American to represent USA Softball at the Olympics. Starting all nine games for the U.S. at shortstop, she hit .400 (12-for-30) in Athens and had an Olympic record five stolen bases to help lead the team to a gold medal. Watley and her 2004 teammates, including four other Bruins, were inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in July of 2012.
She again made the Olympic team in 2008, where she took home the silver. Watley hit .321 (9-for-28) with six runs scored, six runs batted in, two home runs and two steals. She had a hit in eight of the nine games, starting every contest at shortstop. Also that year, she helped the U.S. win gold medals at the KFC World Cup of Softball, the Canada Cup and the Japan Cup.
She is a three-time World Cup Champion (2006 and 2007), two-time Pan American Games gold medalist (2003 and 2007) and two-time World Champion (2002 and 2006).
Watley began her coaching career in 2005, joining the UCLA staff as an undergraduate assistant. She was a volunteer coach for the Bruins from 2006-10 and helped coach the Bruins to their ninth NCAA crown in 2010. Watley is now a volunteer assistant at Cal State Northridge and continues to play professionally.
Jamie Dantzscher, Gymastics (2001-04)
Jamie Dantzscher's UCLA debut in 2001 set the tone for the remainder of her record-breaking collegiate career. After scoring a perfect 10 on her first-ever collegiate routine, Dantzscher went on to score 27 more over the course of four seasons, and she finished her Bruin career with a combined seven NCAA titles, 15 All-America honors, eight NCAA Regional titles and three Pac-10 individual championships.
Coming to UCLA after the 2000 Olympic Games, Dantzscher made an immediate impact on the 2001 Bruin squad. In her first meet, she recorded perfect 10s, first on floor exercise and later on uneven bars to become the first UCLA gymnast ever to score two perfect 10s in the same meet. She is also believed to be the first gymnast in NCAA history to score a perfect 10 on her first-ever routine. Dantzscher made history again at her next competition, scoring another 10 on floor to become the first Bruin to score perfect 10s in consecutive meets. She helped lead the Bruins to the NCAA Championship that season, scoring a 9.975 on uneven bars and 9.95 on floor exercise in the team finals.
Dantzscher was dominant at the 2002 NCAA Championships, capturing the individual all-around (39.675), vault (9.957) and floor (9.95) titles to set a UCLA record for most NCAA Championships won in a single season. She also earned the maximum five All-America honors at the Championships. Dantzscher was just as dominant in the regular season, setting a national record with seven consecutive perfect 10s on floor exercise. In a meet on Mar. 3, 2002, she scored a career-high 39.9 in the all-around, a score that still ranks as the fourth-highest score in NCAA history, and became only the third gymnast ever to score three 10s in one meet. Dantzscher was honored in 2002 as a Honda Award finalist, the West Region Gymnast of the Year, and the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year.
In 2003, Dantzscher led the Bruins to their fourth NCAA team title and captured her fourth NCAA individual title with a first-place tie with teammate Kate Richardson on uneven bars. She was also a five-time All-American for the second-straight year.
Dantzscher concluded her career in style, winning the AAI American Award as the nation's top senior gymnast and helping lead UCLA to the 2004 NCAA title at Pauley Pavilion with a Championship record team score of 198.125. The team title was the third for Dantzscher in her four years.
A six-year member of the U.S. national team, Dantzscher won a bronze medal with the 2000 U.S. Olympic team and was the U.S. national champion on uneven bars in 1999.
Previous Title IX 40 Profiles
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