Jan. 9, 2013
UCLA vs. Utah Saturday Night
In a televised battle between the top two teams in the Pac-12 Conference, No. 2 UCLA will host No. 5 Utah on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 7:30pm in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA and Utah finished 1-2 at the inaugural Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City a year ago and were also picked 1-2 in the 2013 Pac-12 preseason coaches' poll. The two teams have combined to win 16 national team championships (10 by Utah, 6 by UCLA).
Don't Be Late!
Due to the live television broadcast, pre-meet festivities will take place earlier than usual. Introductions are expected to begin before the announced start time of 7:30pm, with competition to start at approximately 7:38pm.
Tickets for the UCLA-Utah meet are on sale now at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. Season tickets, which offer the best seating in reserved sections, are on sale for $40 for the remaining four regular season home meets. Single-meet tickets are also on sale at the UCLA Central Ticket Office and at Ticketmaster for $12 reserved/$8 GA (adults) and $10 reserved/$5 GA for youth (16 and under). UCLA students are free with ID.
Saturday's meet will be televised live nationally on the Pac-12 Networks at 7:30pm. Jim Watson and Amanda Borden will have the call.
UCLABruins.com will host a free audio broadcast, with Darren Preston and Allison Taylor providing commentary. Fans can also get score updates via live stats at uclabruins.com and on Twitter by following @UCLAGymnastics.
UCLA is encouraging fans to wear white to Saturday's meet for a White-Out in Pauley Pavilion.
Honor & Freedom Meet
UCLA will be recognizing all who protect our country at this meet. Veterans and all active military personnel can receive up to four free general admission tickets by showing military ID at the gate.
Recording artist Kyle Khou will perform and will be joined post-meet for a special duet with Bruin freshman Christine Peng-Peng Lee.
In The Rankings
UCLA opens the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason coaches poll, continuing a streak of being ranked in the preseason Top 5 every year since the poll began in 1998. The Bruins, who won the 2012 Pac-12 Championship and finished a close third at the NCAA Championships, received five of 28 first-place votes. UCLA will face nine of the Top 25 teams this season, including six in the Top 10 - No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Utah, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 10 Michigan. Also on the schedule for the Bruins are No. 12 Arkansas, No. 17 Washington, and No. 19 Arizona.
Bruins No. 1 In Pac-12 Coaches Poll
For the second consecutive year, UCLA was picked as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 in a polling of the Conference's eight coaches. The defending Pac-12 champions received 46 points and four first-place votes to edge out 2012 Pac-12 runner-up Utah, which had 44 points and four first-place votes.
UCLA Wins Season Opener
UCLA won its season opener on Sunday against Southern Utah, 196.150-194.875, keeping alive a streak of 12 consecutive victories in home season openers. The Bruins posted the nation's top mark so far this season on uneven bars (49.3) and had the second-highest floor mark in the nation (49.475). Senior Vanessa Zamarripa won the all-around (39.475), beam (9.875) and floor (career-high 9.975). Olivia Courtney won vault (9.875), and Lichelle Wong and Sophina DeJesus tied for first on bars (9.9).
The Bruins utilized many first-time competitors in the season opener, replacing 12 of their routines from last year's NCAA meet. Making their NCAA competitive debuts were freshmen Sophina DeJesus (bars, beam, floor) and Danusia Francis (bars, beam) and sophomores Sadiqua Bynum (floor) and Dana McDonald (vault, floor). Additionally, two athletes who missed most of the season last year, returned to the competition lineup - Sydney Sawa (vault) and Lichelle Wong (bars, beam).
Zamarripa, DeJesus Honored by Pac-12
Senior Vanessa Zamarripa was named the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week, and freshman Sophina DeJesus earned the first-ever Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week award. Zamarripa won the all-around with a score of 39.475 and captured first-place honors on balance beam (9.875, tied for first) and floor exercise (career-high 9.975). She also had a second-place showing on vault (9.825) and placed sixth on uneven bars (9.8). In her collegiate debut, DeJesus scored 9.8 or better on all three events in which she competed and tied for first place on uneven bars with a 9.9. DeJesus also tied for third on balance beam with a 9.8 and was fifth on floor with a 9.825.
About The Utes
The 10-time national champion Utes are coached by Greg and Megan Marsden and have five returning All-Americans on their roster - 2012 Pac-12 all-around champion Corrie Lothrop, 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Georgia Dabritz, 2008 Canadian Olympian Nansy Damianova, and Kailah Delaney and Mary Beth Lofgren.
The Series With Utah
UCLA is 5-24 all-time against Utah and won both regular season meetings a year ago by just .050 each time. The Bruins won the season opener in Los Angeles (196.075-196.025) and the Pac-12 Championships in Utah (197.425-197.375).