No. 25 Women's Gymnastics Opens Home Season Against No. 1 UCLA

Jan. 23, 2001

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This Week --
The No. 25 Arizona State women's gymnastics squad (1-2) will attempt to defend its 21-meet home winning streak against defending national champion and current No. 1 UCLA (5-0), Friday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.

Recent Results --
Needing a win to avoid being the first Sun Devil team to start 0-3 under head coach John Spini, ASU defeated Oregon State on the road for the first time since 1993. They did so by a mere .025 points, 193.750-193.725. Laura Moon led the way for ASU with an all-around winning performance of 38.875.

The Streak --
If it appears as if ASU's home winning streak grew in the off-season, it did. Contrary to many recent reports, further statistical review shows that the Sun Devils have won their last 21 home meets, defeating 33 opponents. The last team to defeat ASU in Tempe was Utah, which bested the Sun Devils 193.875-193.25, Feb. 2, 1996. That loss was ASU's first in its last eight home meets, and its first since Utah had snapped a nine-meet home wining streak, Feb. 11, 1994. Thus, ASU has won 37 of its last 39 home meets, defeating 56 opponents. The last team to beat the Sun Devils at home other than Utah was Oregon State (192.7-192.55) Feb. 7, 1992.

UCLA (5-0) --
Coached by Valorie Kondos Field, the defending national champion UCLA Bruins are ranked as the nation's top team for a reason. Included on the squad are U.S. Olympians in Alyssa Beckerman, Jamie Dantzcher and Kristen Maloney, Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek and the 2000 NCAA bars and all-around champion, Mohini Bhardwaj. Armed with such talent, the Bruins have already posted six perfect 10s and have a season-high team total of 197.5 (vs. Utah). Bhardwaj leads the way in the individual national rankings, where she is tops in the all-around and floor, third on bars and beam and eighth on vault. In only five collegiate meets, Dantzcher has notched half of the Bruins' aforementioned perfect 10s, setting the UCLA record.

UCLA, Rank and File --
After beginning the year at No. 1 in the coaches' poll, the Bruins watched Utah slip ahead of them after the first week of the season. However, Jan. 21, UCLA put up a whopping 197.5 to defeat Utah (195.7) and regain the nation's top spot. UCLA was also pegged as the pre-season No. 1 by Sports Illustrated for Women.

Last Time vs. UCLA --
At the 2001 season opener, the (pre-season) No. 11 Sun Devils were greeted by No. 1 UCLA and No. 6 Nebraska. Stumbling to a team total of 191.525, ASU watched as UCLA finished with a meet-high 196.2, ahead of runner-up Nebraska's 194.95. En route to victory, UCLA picked up three perfect 10s. The Sun Devils' team score was their lowest in almost three years and was the third-lowest ASU total in the last decade, just below the 191.575 it posted at UCLA in its 2000 meeting with the Bruins.

All-Time vs. UCLA --
ASU is 13-15 all-time against UCLA, but the Bruins have won three of the last four. The last time UCLA defeated ASU in Tempe was Feb. 11, 1990 (189.5-187.3).

Moon Rising --
Laura Moon -- a junior from Scottsdale, Ariz. -- transferred to ASU after two MVP seasons at Maryland. As good as those seasons were, Moon wasted no time showing improvement as a Sun Devil. Despite being limited to one event at the Maui Invitational because of an ankle injury, Moon lifted her career-high on bars from 9.925 to 9.95 -- a mark that ranks her in a six-way tie for third nationally in that event. The following meet, against Oregon State, Moon competed in the all-around to a ASU season-best 38.875.

Fab Frosh --
The only Sun Devil to compete in all four events at the Maui Invitational, freshman Maggie Germaine performed a team-best 9.775 on the balance beam, added another 9.775 on the floor, hit a 9.8 on bars and added a 9.425 on vault to finish with an all-around score of 38.775. The following week she totaled a 37.975 in ASU's victory over Oregon State.

Wojciak Attack --
Sophomore Margaret Wojciak has already increased her contribution since her freshman season. Against Oregon State, Wojciak made her collegiate debut in the all-around and finished with a 38.475, higher than any ASU all-around performance in 2000.

To The Point --
The Sun Devils' margin of victory over Oregon State of .025 (193.75-193.725) was the closest decision in a regular-season ASU meet since the Sun Devils defeated Southern Utah on the road by the same .025 (191.875-191.85) to pick up their third win of the 1999 season (Jan. 29).

Aloha Means Good-bye --
Don't be surprised if the Sun Devils do their best to stay away from Hawai'i in the future. ASU's third-place finish at the Maui Invitational in the season opener was the result of the Sun Devils' worst team score (191.525) in almost three years. That previous three-year low total of 191.175 (Jan. 18, 1998) included a loss to UCLA and was just eight days after ASU had combined for only 191.0 -- albeit in victory -- at the Maui Invitational.

Starting Slow --
ASU has good reason to believe it will rebound in the coming weeks. Of the last 15 season openers dating back to 1986, 10 have seen the Sun Devils struggle to their lowest team totals of the year (Years in which they did not: 1989, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2000).

Rule Change --
Unlike previous years in which gymnasts were allowed two attempts on the vault (with the higher score counting), this year athletes will only be allowed one attempt at the apparatus.

Up Next --
The Sun Devils remain at home to face Pac-10 opponent Washington. Competition at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz., is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. (MST).

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