Feb. 27, 2013
UCLA Travels to Alabama
Sixth-ranked UCLA (7-2) visits fourth-ranked and two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama (4-2-1) on Friday, Mar. 1 at 7:30 pm CT. This meet is the last of three-straight road meets against Top 15 teams for the Bruins.
Friday's meet will be live-streamed on rolltide.com, which will also host live stats. Follow @uclagymnastics on Twitter for live updates as well.
In the Rankings
With Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) now determining rankings, UCLA dropped one spot to No. 6 with a RQS of 196.720. The Bruins rank third on beam (49.180), fifth on bars (49.205) and floor (49.285) and eighth on vault (49.245).
Vanessa Zamarripa is ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the all-around (39.590) and floor exercise (9.925) for the third consecutive week. She also ranks No. 5 on bars (9.890), No. 6 on vault (9.905) and No. 16 on beam (9.860). Olivia Courtney ranks 18th on vault (9.885), Danusia Francis is 11th on beam (9.865), and Alyssa Pritchett is 13th on floor (9.885).
Bruins Score Road Best in Loss at Oklahoma
UCLA recorded its best score on the road this season, 197.2, but it wasn't enough, as second-ranked Oklahoma set a new school record with a total of 198.375. The Bruins had what head coach Valorie Kondos Field called the team's best meet of the season. Several Bruins had season and career-bests in the meet, including Sophina DeJesus, who returned to competition after sitting out two meets with a concussion and tied her career-bests on beam and floor with 9.875s. Vanessa Zamarripa scored 39.65 in the all-around to tie for second place and took home UCLA's only individual victory, winning uneven bars with a 9.95.
Rematch on Tap in Tuscaloosa
UCLA will go head-to-head with the team that nipped the Bruins at the NCAA Championships the last two seasons, two-time defending champion Alabama. The Bruins came in second to the Tide at the 2011 NCAAs by just 0.275 points and was third by just 0.10 at the 2012 Championships. UCLA and Alabama have combined to win 12 NCAA titles, six by each team.
About The Crimson Tide
Fourth-ranked Alabama is coming off a tie at Arkansas, with both teams scoring 197.1. Like UCLA at Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide's score was their highest road mark and their second-highest overall score this year. Alabama has posted 32 consecutive home wins and has not lost at Coleman Coliseum since Feb. 13, 2009 vs. LSU.
UCLA has a 2-7 record in regular season play against the Tide. The Bruins' last win over Alabama came in 2001 in Los Angeles. The last time the two teams met in the regular season was 2008 in a quad meet in Los Angeles. Arkansas upset both teams in that meet, scoring 196.425 to Alabama's 195.925 and UCLA's 195.8. UCLA's last visit to Tuscaloosa came in 2007, with Alabama winning 197.225-196.475.
Zamarripa Sets Pac-12 Records
With four Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week honors this season and nine in her career, Vanessa Zamarripa has set the standard in the conference. Her four awards this season tie the single-season record held by UCLA's Kristen Maloney in 2005. Zamarripa's nine career awards broke the record set by her former teammate Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, who totaled six.
Zamarripa has been dominant this season, ranking No. 1 in the nation in the all-around and on floor exercise, and winning the all-around in four of her six meets. In addition to her all-around wins, she has placed first on 15 of 26 routines (58%) this season.
Francis Beaming in First Year
Freshman Danusia Francis has been a star for the Bruins on balance beam, ranking 11th nationally on the event with a RQS of 9.865. Francis has placed first in four meets and in the Top 3 in six of seven meets. She has set career-highs of 9.925 twice on beam and has scored no lower than 9.8 all season. Francis has competed on uneven bars in every meet as the leadoff performer and posted a career-high of 9.8 last weekend at Oklahoma. The 2012 British Olympic alternate has also competed on floor the last three meets, scoring a high of 9.8 at Oklahoma.
DeJesus Makes Triumphant Comeback
Freshman Sophina DeJesus came back in a big way at Oklahoma after sitting out two weeks with a concussion, recording career-highs of 9.875 on beam and floor. DeJesus has been a strong performer for the Bruins all season, earning Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week honors twice and totaling two event wins and five Top 3 finishes. She is averaging over 9.825 on both beam and floor and has a high of 9.9 on uneven bars.
Courtney Continues Consistent Effort
Junior Olivia Courtney has been one of the Bruins' most consistent gymnasts since her freshman season. Through her career, she has hit 99 of 102 routines (97%), with her only three misses all coming on balance beam. She is 21-for-21 this season and averages 9.854 on vault, 9.818 on bars and 9.890 on floor. At UCLA's Feb. 10 quad meet, she posted 39.475 in the all-around, just .025 shy of a personal-best, and tied for first on beam with a season-high 9.875.
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 the duo combining to win six events in UCLA's seven meets. DeJesus has one victory each on uneven bars and balance beam, while Francis has won beam in a team-best four meets. A pair of sophomores who did not compete due to injuries a year ago have also been steady competitors. Dana McDonald is averaging 9.800 on vault and 9.821 on floor in leadoff positions. At Oregon State, she competed on beam for just the second time this season and scored a career-high 9.8. Sadiqua Bynum has competed in each meet on floor, with a high of 9.85 set Feb. 10. Additionally, two other athletes who missed most of last season with injuries, are back - junior Sydney Sawa, who has been slowed lately with an ankle sprain, scored 9.8 on vault vs. Utah and scored on floor at ASU, and senior Lichelle Wong, who had season-highs on all four events and the all-around at Oregon State. Wong ranked No. 1 in the nation on bars in the first two weekly rankings.
Super Seniors Leading the Way
The Bruins' three redshirt seniors - Kaelie Baer, Alyssa Pritchett and Vanessa Zamarripa - are making the most of their final season of competition. Baer, who sat out the 2010 season and most of 2011 due to injuries, has competed in every meet in 2012 and 2013. This season, she has scored a career-high on vault with a 9.875 and is averaging 9.846. She has been a consistent leadoff performer on beam with a high of 9.8. Pritchett enjoyed a breakout year in 2012 after missing 2011 with a stress fracture in her ankle and came back even better in 2013, averaging 9.886 on floor with Top 3 finishes in five meets and a new career-high of 9.925 set Jan. 12 vs. Utah. Zamarripa sat out 2011 with a ruptured Achilles and came back in 2012 to score two perfect 10s on vault and enjoy a dominating all-around performance at the NCAA Super Six, scoring a career-high 39.775. Dominating doesn't even begin to describe Zamarripa's 2013 campaign thus far. She has captured 15 out of a possible 26 event titles this year and has won the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award four times. She currently ranks in the Top 20 nationally on all events, including No. 1 in the all-around and on floor.
UCLA to Host 2013 NCAA Championships
UCLA will host the 2013 NCAA Championships in Pauley Pavilion on Apr. 19-21. This will be UCLA's fourth time hosting the NCAAs. The Bruins won the national title the last time they hosted in 2004, scoring an NCAA record 198.125.
UCLA also previously hosted in 1998 and 1984. Tickets for the Championships are on sale now at uclabruins.com/tickets.